PGC To Determine If 9 Filipino Sailors Of Cargo Ship From India Carry B.1.617 COVID-19 Variant

The PGC will determine if 9 Filipino sailors of cargo ship from India carried B.1.617 COVID-19 variant.

The Philippine Genome Center (PGC) will determine if 9 Filipino sailors of cargo ship from India carried B.1.617 (also known as the “double mutant”) COVID-19 variant.

double mutant COVID-19 variant
Photo source: Gulf News

The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday said that samples from 9 Filipino seafarers of a cargo ship that arrived from India will undergo genome sequencing to determine if they’re infected by a double mutant variant of SARS-CoV-2.

Dr. Alethea De Guzman, director of the DOH’s Epidemiology Bureau, shared in an online press briefing that the 12 COVID-19 stricken crew members went through another COVID-19 test and 11 of them had tested positive again for COVID-19, adding that the 12th patient will undergo a confirmatory COVID-19 test.

From the 11 na nagpositive, meron tayong siyam na eligible for sequencing kasi sapat ‘yung sample size, mababa ‘yung CT (cycle threshold) value, so ‘yun ang isasama sa ating kasunod na run,” she said.

Inquirer reported that the 12 were among 21 Filipino crew members of the MV Athens Bridge that docked in Manila last May 6.

The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) said that the vessel left India last April 22 and arrived in Haiphong, Vietnam, last May 1, where the 12 cases were detected.

READ ALSO: COVID-19 “Double Mutant” Variant Community Transmission Still Unsure — Palace

The planned genome sequencing of samples from 9 seafarers will principally identify if they’re carriers of the double mutant COVID-19 variant, identified as B.1.617, of SARS-CoV-2 that was first reported in India, and also other COVID-19 variants of concern (VOC) and variants under investigation (VUI).

Dr. Cynthia Saloma, executive director of the Philippine Genome Center (PGC), said that they may include the swab samples from the seafarers in the next run that will sequence 350 swab samples or in a special batch that will only include 25 swab samples.

According to Saloma, the results may be out by Thursday or Friday if the special test will be conducted, but the results may be released in 4 days if it will be processed among 350 samples.

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