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DOH: Logistical problems delay sequencing results for COVID variants

/ 02:53 PM June 18, 2021
Maria Rosario Vergeire on genome sequencing logistical problems

DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire talks with reporters via Zoom meeting in this file photo taken on April 23, 2020. INQUIRER.net file photo / Daphne Galvez

MANILA, Philippines — Logistical problems are delaying the release of genome sequencing results that would identify the latest number of detected COVID-19 variant cases in the country, the Department of Health (DOH) said Friday.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said there is currently a shortage in genome sequencing kits, but added that additional kit supplies are arriving soon.

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“Medyo nagkakaroon tayo ng problem logistically, it’s not really a big problem kasi parating na rin naman [‘yung supplies],” Vergeire told an online press briefing.

(We have a problem in terms of logistics, but it’s nothing big since supplies are coming soon.)

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“Medyo nagkaroon ng pagslowdown ang pagtetest ng ating (There is a slowdown in the testing for) genome sequencing because of this specific logistical issue,” she added.

According to Vergeire, the kits that were left in the country’s supply were only for smaller machines used for genome sequencing. She said the results for the sequencing of 45 samples may be released on Saturday or Sunday.

Vergeire said the Philippine Genome Center and the University of the Philippines National Institutes of Health told the DOH that additional supplies of kits may arrive in the coming week.

“Until the end of the year na ‘yan so we’re not seeing na magkakaroon pa tayo ng issue towards the end of the year,” she said.

(The supply will last until the end of the year so we are not seeing any issue that may arise toward the end of the year.)

As of May 29, the country has reported a total of 1,071 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant first detected in the United Kingdom, 1,246 cases of the B.1.351 variant first detected in South Africa, 13 cases of the B.1.617.2 variant first detected in India, two cases of the P.1 variant first detected in Brazil, and 162 cases of the P.3 variant first detected in the Philippines. Sofia Vertucio, INQUIRER.net trainee 

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TAGS: coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19, DoH, genome sequencing
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