No COVID-19 variant from South Africa in Philippines yet – PGC
MANILA, Philippines — Aside from the COVID-19 variant from the United Kingdom, the new variant of the coronavirus that emerged in South Africa has also yet to reach the Philippines based on experts’ latest genome sequencing study.
According to Philippine Genome Center (PGC) Executive Director Cynthia Saloma, lineage analysis through whole-genome sequencing showed that the dominant variant in the Philippines remains to be the D614G mutation, which was detected from samples in July 2020.
“We also did not detect the South African variant in the samples. We have what was the most frequent mutations we have observed the D614G mutation, the most common together with other variant S12F,” Saloma said in an online press briefing Wednesday.
The Department of Health (DOH) earlier announced, citing the PGC study, that the UK variant, also known as BC117, has yet to be detected from samples of passengers from countries with reported cases of the new variant, as well as samples from coronavirus patients in the Philippines infected in November and December.
But Hong Kong recently detected the presence of the new COVID-19 variant in a passenger who returned from the Philippines on December 22.
Experts said both the South African and UK variants are associated with a higher viral load, meaning a greater concentration of virus particles in patients’ bodies, possibly contributing to increased transmission.
The spread of the new variants across the globe prompted governments to impose travel restrictions. The Philippines, for its part, imposed a travel ban on the UK and other countries where the new variant was already detected.
READ: UK scientists worry vaccines may not protect against S.African coronavirus variant https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1379508/uk-scientists-worry-vaccines-may-not-protect-against-s-african-coronavirus-variant
READ: PH expands travel restriction to US amid threat of new COVID-19 variant https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1378347/ph-expands-travel-restriction-to-us-amid-threat-of-new-covid-19-variant
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