MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has detected 380 more cases of the highly transmissible Delta COVID-19 variant and its first case of the B.1.1.318 variant, the Department of Health (DOH) said Monday.
In DOH’s biosurveillance update, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the latest run sequenced comprised of 746 samples collected in March, April, September, and October.
Based on data she presented during a virtual briefing, 380 were found positive for the Delta variant, 166 were Beta variant carriers, while 104 were positive for the Alpha variant.
The country’s first case of B.1.1.318 case was also detected.
“Please note that the B.1.1.318 was not designated yet as a variant under monitoring during the time of sample collection,” Vergeire noted.
B.1.1.318 is a COVID-19 variant under monitoring based on the classifications of the World Health Organization.
“This was initially identified or detected in Mauritius. Mayroon silang naging cluster of 120 cases doon at nung kanilang na-sequence ay ito po ang lumabas. Itong variant under monitoring na ito,” Vergeire said.
“It has 14 mutations in its spike region, kasama po dito yung mutations na nakita din natin sa Delta variant at saka sa Beta variant,” she added.
Vergeire, however, stressed that the variant is still being studied and that there is no reason for the public to panic over the presence of the said variant in the country.
“Ibig sabihin, pinag-aaralan pa ito ng maigi ng WHO, ng mga international experts, dahil ito pong mga mutations na ito ay maaaring maka-apekto rin sa efficacy ng bakuna, maaari ding makaapekto sa transmission ng sakit,” she said.
“Let me just reiterate, it’s a variant under monitoring. Lahat po pinag-aaralan sa ngayon. Wala po tayong cause to panic. Kailangan lang po maging vigilant pa rin tayo lahat and follow our minimum public health standards,” she added.
As of Oct. 24, the Philippines has sequenced a total of 17,893 samples, of which 88.76 percent or 15,882 are assigned lineages, the DOH said.