Genome Center: Spread of highly transmissible variants in homes among factors in COVID-19 case surge in PH

Robie de Guzman   •   April 6, 2021   •   1216

MANILA, Philippines – The spread of highly transmissible variants of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) through homes contributes to the surge of infections in the country, the Philippine Genome Center said Tuesday.

Dr. Cynthia Saloma, Executive Director of the Philippine Genome Center, said there are a lot of factors contributing to the spike in COVID-19 infections but it is mainly due to “increased complacency” among Filipinos following the arrival and rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.

Aside from complacency, the emergence of COVID-19 variants that is easily transmitted, especially among family members, is also another factor for the high infection rate.

“There is this increased complacency probably the enthusiasm in the rollout of the vaccine. And against that backdrop is the presence of these highly transmissible viruses which we believe is really, really spreading through our homes,” Saloma said during a Laging Handa public briefing.

Among the COVID-19 variants reported to have been detected in the country are the ones first reported in the United Kingdom (B.1.1.7), South Africa (B.1.351), Brazil (P1), and the variant found in Central Visayas (P.3).

“So, nakita naman ninyo yung kanyang virus mutations naitala na nagmutate siya saka maganda yung kapit niya doon sa ating ACE2 receptor kaya kung in the home setting, madali talaga siyang mag-spread kasi siyempre kumakain tayo sabay-sabay di ba?” Saloma said.

“Because of its ability to attach very well or efficiently into the receptor so ‘yan and together with, of course, ‘yung complacency ng mga tao, nag-combine siya na tumaas ‘yung ating mga cases,” she added.

Saloma reported that the Philippine Genome Center has so far sequenced 4,751 COVID-19 samples nationwide. Of this number, 4,050 were found to have lineage of new variants.

The B.1.1.7 variant was found in 237 cases, the B.1.1.351 was found in 163 samples, and P1 was found in one case. The P.3 variant, which is still being investigated, was found in 104 samples.

Of the sequence samples, Saloma said the COVID-19 variants of concern only make up 9.9 percent of samples.

“Sa Pilipinas, naitala na natin dati pa na ang pinakamarami sa na-sequence natin are not really the variants of concern. Ito ‘yung mga sinasabing Hong Kong at UAE variants. Ito talaga ‘yung marami sa ating bansa,” she said.

“Kung titingnan natin, sa kabuuan, ‘yung mga may lineages na assignment, parang mga 9.9% ‘yung mga variants of concern na naitala natin sa buong Pilipinas simula noong nag-genomic biosurveillance nitong Enero,” she added.

The Philippines is currently seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases, prompting the national government to revert Metro Manila under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), along with four nearby provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna.

The ECQ period is until April 11.

The World Health Organization earlier said that the spike in coronavirus infections in the Philippines and other countries is attributed to ‘multiple factors’ including the high transmissibility of new variants, gradual reduction in compliance with health protocols due to pandemic fatigue, and optimism in vaccination rollout.

COVID-19 vaccination sa mga bata, palalawigin sa 13 ospital sa Metro Manila – DILG

Robie de Guzman   •   October 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Mula sa walong ospital ay palalawigin pa sa 13 ospital sa Metro Manila ang isinasagawang pediatric vaccination kontra COVID-19, partikular sa mga batang may edad 12 hanggang 17 at may co-morbidity.

Ayon kay Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, tinukoy na ng ilang local government unit (LGU) ang mga ospital na isasama na rin sa listahan ng mga pinagdarausan ng pagbabakuna.

Magsisimula aniya ang expansion sa ika-22 ng Oktubre.

“Ngayon naman po ay pupunta naman po tayo sa mga LGU-based hospitals ‘no and magdaragdag po ng thirteen additional local hospitals doon sa mga ospital na nagsimula na sa national ‘no,” ani Malaya.

“So, ito po ay magsisimula ngayong Friday hanggang October 31. So, ang bawat LGU po ay nag-identify ng isang local hospital para maisama sa pilot ng pediatric vaccination,” dagdag pa niya.

Kabilang sa mga ospital na idaragdag sa vaccination site ay ang Caloocan Medical Center, Ospital ng Parañaque, at ang Pasay General Hospital.

Ang walong ospital na kasalukuyang pinagdarausan ng pagbabakuna ay ang Philippine Children’s Medical Center,
National Children’s Hospital, Philippine Heart Center,
Pasig City General Hospital,
 Fe Del Mundo Medical Center,
 Philippine General Hospital,
 Makati Medical Center at ang St. Luke’s Medical Center sa Taguig.

Paalala ng mga otoridad sa mga magulang na nais pabakunahan ang kanilang mga anak na may co-morbidity na makipag-ugnayan sa nakakasakop na LGU at magpakita ng mga kaukulang dokumento, pati na ang parent consent.

Mula a-16 ng Oktubre ay nasa 1,509 bata na ang nakatanggap ng COVID-19 shots batay sa ulat ng Department of Health.

DOH: 1,509 minors with health risks vaccinated vs COVID-19 in first week

Robie de Guzman   •   October 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines ­– A total of 1,509 children aged 12 to 17 with co-morbidities were vaccinated in the first week of the pilot implementation of the COVID-19 pediatric vaccination in Metro Manila, the Department of Health (DOH) said Monday.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said, the pilot vaccination was successful based on a three-day assessment they conducted.

Vergeire noted that four minors who received the shots reportedly experienced side effects but added that these are still being verified and assessed.

“Isang bata na nagkaroon ng pagtaas ng presyon but after 2 hours they were able to manage it, naging normal na. May nagkaroon ng allergic reaction but it was managed,” she said.

“May dalawang stress-related doon sa immunization, may anxiety sa pagbabakuna. Let me caution all of you, it’s not official yet,” she added.

Vergeire assured they are closely monitoring the condition of minors inoculated with COVID-19 vaccine.

The COVID-19 vaccination for the pediatric population was launched on Oct. 15 in eight hospitals in Metro Manila, namely:

  • Philippine Children’s Medical Center
  • National Children’s Hospital
  • Philippine Heart Center
  • Pasig City General Hospital
  • Fe Del Mundo Medical Center
  • Philippine General Hospital
  • Makati Medical Center
  • Luke’s Medical Center (Taguig)

The following medical conditions would make children aged 12 to 17 years old eligible for vaccination against COVID-19:

  • Medical complexity
  • Genetic conditions
  • Neurologic conditions
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Metabolic/endocrine
  • Obesity
  • HIV infection
  • Tuberculosis
  • Chronic respiratory disease
  • Renal disorder
  • Hepatobillary

Vergeire earlier said that children participating in the pilot COVID-19 vaccination program should be well-informed and must get clearance from their doctors.


Blue Ribbon to release initial report on ‘overpriced’ medical supplies from Pharmally

Maris Federez   •   October 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee is set to release the initial report on its investigation into the alleged overpriced medical supplies for COVID-19 procured by the government from Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation.

Blue Ribbon chairperson Senator Richard Gordon said they will try to release the said preliminary report within this week.

He said the committee had been very careful in preparing the report from the results of the investigations conducted in the series of hearings. He added that individuals who must take accountability for the said anomaly will be included in the report in accordance with the anti-graft law and the procurement law.

“Ang lalabas ngayon, ano ang naging resulta ng imbestigasyon. Well, mabusisi ito. Malinaw na kung anong ginawa. ‘Yun ang ipapalabas natin. Ito ang ginawa ng mga taong ‘to, ito ang mananagot sa anti-graft, ito ang mananagot sa violation ng procurement law, at sino ba talaga ang nagpaikot niyan,” Gordon said.

The senator said they will hold the twelfth hearing on the said issue on Tuesday, following its cancellation last October 12. —/mbmf (with details from UNTV Correspondent Harlene Delgado)


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