DOH reports 687 more cases of SARS-CoV-2 variants in PH
MANILA, Philippines (Updated) — The Department of Health (DOH) reported on Tuesday an additional 687 cases of the SARS-CoV-2 variants in the country.
According to DOH, 289 B.1.1.7 variant cases, 380 B.1.351 variant cases, and 9 P.3 variant cases of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 were found from 744 samples, based on the latest whole-genome sequencing report.
This brings the total number of B.1.1.7 cases to 948, B.1.351 to 1,075, and P.3 to 157 as of May 3. Meanwhile, there are still two cases of the P.1 variant first detected in Brazil.
The DOH said that of the additional cases of the B.1.1.7 variant first reported in the United Kingdom, 48 cases are returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) and 185 are local cases. Verification is ongoing to determine if the remaining 56 cases are local or ROF cases.
Based on the case line list, three of the patients have active infections while two have died and 284 have recovered.
Earlier studies suggest that this variant is more transmissible than the original variant of the virus.
Of the additional cases of the variant from South Africa, 107 cases are ROFs and 196 are local cases. Authorities are verifying if the 77 other cases are local or ROF cases.
According to DOH, one case is still active and 379 cases were tagged as recovered.
Health experts earlier said that the variant could have an impact on vaccine efficacy.
Meanwhile, of the cases of the P.3 variant first detected in the Philippines, three are ROFs, four are local cases, and two cases are being verified if they are local or ROF cases. Based on the case line list, all nine cases have already recovered from COVID-19.
The DOH reiterated that unlike the B.1.1.7, B.1.351, and the P.1 from Brazil, the P.3 variant is still not categorized as a variant of concern (VOC) since current data is insufficient to determine whether the variant will have significant implication to public health.
“The DOH also clarifies that B.1.351 is the most common variant among the samples sequenced with assigned lineages, contrary to reports that it is now the dominant variant in the country,” the health department said.
To date, the Philippine Genome Center has already sequenced a total of 7,167 samples, of which 5,917 were assigned lineages.
Among the samples with assigned lineages, 18.2 percent are for B.1.351, 16 percent are for B.1.1.7, 2.7 percent are for P.3, and 0.03 percent for the P.1 variant.
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