PH Genome Center stresses: Brazil Covid variant of concern not yet here | Inquirer News
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But other Brazil variants detected already

PH Genome Center stresses: Brazil Covid variant of concern not yet here

/ 07:52 PM March 10, 2021
South Africa coronavirus variant 'offers immunity against other variants'

FILE PHOTO: This undated transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2, also known as novel coronavirus, the virus that causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S. NIAID-RML/Handout via REUTERS.

MANILA, Philippines — The University of the Philippines (UP) – Philippine Genome Center (PGC) has clarified that the dreaded Brazil Covid-19 variant of concern — known as the P.1 variant — has not been detected in the country.

PGC Executive Director Dr. Cynthia Saloma clarified in an online briefing with reporters and the Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday that the Brazil variant detected is actually the B.1.1.28, which is not listed as a variant of concern.

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Saloma explained that like in the case of the United Kingdom (UK), there have been several variants detected but only one was classified as a variant of concern — the B.1.1.7 variant.  As of now, health authorities across the world are watching out for these variants of concern, including the South Africa variant B.1.351, as these were deemed to be more infectious.

“Ang dami-dami po talagang UK variants no, siguro hundreds kasi first detected in the UK.  Pero iba naman po ‘yoong variant of concern […] so far po tatlo pa lang ang variants of concern, one is the UK variant which is B.1.1.7, the second is the South African variant or the B.1.351, and the other one is the P.1 which is the variant of Brazil,” she said.

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(There are several UK variants, maybe hundreds of those which were first detected inside the UK.  But this should be differentiated with the variants of concern, as of now there are three: the UK variant which is B.1.1.7, the South African variant or the B.1.351, and the other one is the P.1 which is the variant of Brazil.)

“So we have to differentiate this one (P.1) po from the B.1.1.28 […] Actually po ‘yong P.1 na sinasabi nating Brazil variant of concern, kasi merong ibang Brazil variant din, this P.1 […] is anak po siya ng B.1.1.28.  So sa Philippines po, wala pa po tayong P.1,” she added.

(So we have to differentiate this one (P.1) from the B.1.1.28.  Actually this P.1 which we have classified as a Brazil variant of concern — because there are other Brazil variants also — is the offspring of the B.1.1.28.  So in the Philippines, we still do not have the P.1.)

Confusion arose earlier after Quezon City announced that they have detected Covid-19 patients carrying a Brazil variant, which led to assumptions that it was the P.1 variant.  But DOH quickly clarified that what is present in the country is the B.1.1.28 lineage where the P.1 stemmed from.

Several experts and analysts in the Philippines and abroad have speculated that the fresh Covid-19 surges — albeit quicker — may have been due to the variants of concern spreading undetected.

As early as March 1, analytics organization OCTA Research has informed the public that a quicker Covid-19 surge has already started within the National Capital Region that if left unchecked, would push the daily number of new cases to 6,000 by end of March.

As of Wednesday, the country recorded 2,886 new Covid-19 infections — slightly lower than the previous days’ tally, but still high numbers.  Active Covid-19 cases were at 44,470, bringing the total case count to 603,308.

JPV

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TAGS: Brazil COVID-19 variant, COVID-19 pandemic, Department of Health, DoH, Dr. Cynthia Saloma, P.1 variant, PGC, Philippine Genome Center, Philippine news updates, University of the Philippines, UP, variant of concern
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