DOH confirms ‘stealth’ Omicron predominant in most regions
MANILA, Philippines — The “stealth” Omicron or the BA.2 sub-lineage of the said variant is now “predominant in most regions” in the country, the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed on Tuesday.
But the DOH noted that its clinical presentation is not significantly different from the original Omicron lineage.
“Ang BA.2 ay nakita natin—this is the stealth Omicron—mas common ito sa local cases natin sa bawat rehiyon natin,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online media briefing, citing analysis from the Philippine Genome Center (PGC).
(The BA.2—this is the stealth Omicron—is common in local cases in our regions.)
Meanwhile, the PGC analysis also showed that the original Omicron lineage called BA.1 has been detected in eight regions and is predominant in Bicol Region and among returning overseas Filipinos.
However, Vergeire stressed no significant difference in the clinical presentation between BA.1 and BA.2.
“Walang nakitang significant difference sa clinical presentation ang BA.1 at BA.2 at kinakailangan pa rin ng masusing pag-aaral, dahil limitado pa rin naman ang mga obserbasyon na nakukuha dito,” she said.
(There is no observed significant difference in the clinical presentation of BA.1 and BA.2. We still need further studies because the observations are still limited.)
“Although BA.1 is the globally prevalent Omicron sub-lineage, there is a recent increase in the detection of BA.2 sequences,” she also said.
The stealth Omicron or BA.2 has so far been detected in at least 49 countries and 17 US states, according to the health official..
British authorities have earlier identified hundreds of cases of the BA.2 sub-lineage, with international data suggesting that it could spread relatively quickly. The UK Health Security Agency had designated the BA.2 sub-lineage as a variant under investigation.
The Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 is now the predominant variant in Metro Manila and other parts of the country, said Vergeire. She said that from 1.30 percent of sequenced samples in November, the Omicron variant now accounts for 98.9 percent of samples with lineages in the genome sequencing run in January.
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