COVID-19 variant testing for seafarers from India may be out in 2-3 days
MANILA, Philippines — The test results that will determine if the Filipino seafarers from India have the COVID-19 variant first detected in the South Asian country may be released in two to three days, the Department of Health (DOH) said Saturday.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that samples from two patients suffering severe COVID-19 and the ten others “apparently” with mild cases were already collected on Friday and submitted to the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) for genome sequencing.
“Mag-RT PCR ulit ito. Kung sino ang magturn-out na positive will be subjected to the whole genome sequencing,” she said during the Laging Handa public briefing.
(These samples will undergo RT-PCR again. Whoever turns out to be positive will be subjected to whole genome sequencing.)
“Nagkakaroon na tayo ng special run para dito. Hindi po natin gagamitin ‘yung malaking makina, ‘yung maliit lang na makina. Hopefully in 2 to 3 days we will get the results,” she added.
(We are already having a special run for this. We will not use the large machine but the small one. Hopefully in 2 to 3 days we will get the results.)
The genome sequencing will determine if the seafarers are positive of the so-called “double-mutant” B.1.617 variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus first reported in India or other variants of concern and variants under investigation.
The seafarers were among the 21 Filipino crew members of the MV Athens Bridge that docked in Manila on Thursday. All the virus-positive seafarers are already being treated while the 10 others who don’t have the virus are under quarantine and will also undergo COVID-19 testing.
The Maritime Industry Authority earlier said the cargo ship left India on April 22 and arrived in Haiphong, Vietnam on May 1, where the 12 COVID-19 positive cases were detected.
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