PH records first B.1.617.1 COVID-19 variant case in Pampanga | Inquirer News
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Previously known as the deescalated 'Kappa' variant

PH records first B.1.617.1 COVID-19 variant case in Pampanga

/ 01:55 PM November 08, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines recorded its first case of the B.1.617.1 COVID-19 variant, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said on Monday.

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During the Department of Health forum, Vergeire explained that the B.1.617.1 variant, formerly known as the Kappa variant, is a variant under monitoring as designated by the World Health Organization (WHO).

“It is a variant of interest but as of September 20, 2021, it was declassified and is currently designated by the WHO as a variant under monitoring,” Vergeire said.

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The country’s first case of the B.1.617.1 variant was detected in a 32-year-old male from Floridablanca, Pampanga.

Vergeire said that it is a local case.

The man was reported to have had mild disease severity and is now recovered.

His sample was collected on June 2, 2021.

According to Vergeire, a further probe is underway regarding the country’s first B.1.617.1 variant.

“Further investigation is being done by our regional epidemiology and surveillance unit in order to gather more information on this case and there is strict monitoring of this case and the community,” she assured.

Kappa variant first originated in India in October 2020.

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The World Health Organization has put this variant under the “deescalated category” as of September 2021.

However, WHO was careful to term such variants in the deescalated category as those “with genetic changes that are suspected to affect virus characteristics with some indication that it may pose a future risk, but evidence of phenotypic or epidemiological impact is currently unclear, requiring enhanced monitoring and repeat assessment pending new evidence.”

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