DOH Confirms Detection Of “Unique” COVID-19 Variant From The Philippines

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The DOH confirmed the detection of the “unique” COVID-19 variant from the Philippines.

The Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday confirmed the detection of the “unique” COVID-19 variant from the Philippines — the P.3 variant.

Aside from this, the DOH also confirmed the detection of the COVID-19 variant from Brazil — the P.1 variant. The P.1 and P.3 COVID-19 variants belong to the same B.1.1.28 lineage.

DOH COVID-19 Variant

DOH’s announcement on the P.3 variant was made almost a month after the Department of Health confirmed that two “mutations of possible clinical significance” — N501Y and E484K — were detected from samples in Central Visayas.

However, it wasn’t yet proven that the variant was more transmissible or may cause problems with COVID-19 vaccine efficacy.

The Department of Health said that the initial detection of the P.3 COVID-19 variant was made in 85 cases, adding that a total of 13 more were later detected. Thus, there were a total of 98 cases of the P.3 COVID-19 variant in the Philippines.

Moreover, the Department of Health said that the new variant was not identified as a “variant of concern” as current available data were “insufficient to conclude whether the variant will have significant public health implications.”

READ ALSO | DOH7: PGC Detects COVID-19 “Variant Of Concern” In Cebu City

Meanwhile, Dr. Anna Ong-Lim — a member of the DOH technical advisory group — explained in an online media briefing that they submitted the information to the global reporting system Phylogenetic Assignment of Named Global Outbreak Lineages (PANGOLIN), after the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) initially detected 85 cases “with unique set of mutations.”

According to Dr. Anna Ong-Lim, they’re waiting for PANGOLIN to let them know if the said variant was unique to the Philippines or was already discovered in other countries.

We were waiting for them (PANGOLIN) to let us know kung ito nga ba ay unique to the Philippines or natuklasan na sa ibang bansa. They’ve come back to us and told us na ito nga ay bagong variant,” Ong-Lim said.

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