IATF forms technical working group on COVID-19 variants | Inquirer News

IATF forms technical working group on COVID-19 variants

/ 10:21 AM January 06, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has formed a technical working group (TWG) that will focus on new COVID-19 variants.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire will chair the TWG, while Executive Director Jaime Montoya of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development will serve as co-chair, according to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, who is also the official IATF mouthpiece.

Other members of the panel include Dr. Anna Ong-Lim, Dr. Marissa Alejandria and Dr. Edsel Maurice Salvana of the Department of Health-Technical Advisory Group (DOH-TAG), Dr. Celia Carlos of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Dr. Eva Maria Cutiongco-dela Paz of the University of the Philippines National Institutes of Health, Dr. Cynthia Saloma of the University of the Philippines – Philippine Genome Center, and Dr. John Wong of Epimetrics.


The creation of the new panel is in compliance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive on the formation of a task force that would focus on the new COVID-19 variant from the United Kingdom.


Local experts are conducting the whole genome sequencing of specimens from patients who tested positive for COVID-19. The study would detect whether the new variant, believed to be more infectious, has reached the Philippines.

The group is expected to come out this week with the result of its genome sequencing study on several hospitalized coronavirus patients to determine whether the new variant has now reached the Philippines.

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TAGS: Coronavirus, COVID-19, IATF, Philippines, UK variant

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