MANILA, Philippines – The Delta Plus sublineage (AY.4.2) of COVID-19 Delta variant (B.1.617.2) has not yet been detected in the Philippines, the Department of Health (DOH) said Thursday.
In a statement, the DOH said its biosurveillance activities has been closely monitoring 46 sublineages of the Delta variant, and so far has not detected the AY.4.2 sub-variant.
The DOH issued the statement following reports on the increasing case of sublinage AY.4.2 in the United Kingdom (UK) and its detection in other countries.
“As of this moment, experts are still studying the potential impact of the Delta sublineage on the transmissibility and severity of COVID-19. The particular Delta sublineage has not yet been detected among the COVID-19 positive samples sequenced in the country,” the department said.
Delta variant has been listed by the World Health Organization as a variant of concern but its subtypes are not.
Health experts in the UK have earlier reported that the AY.4.2 may be 10% more transmissible than its parent variant.
The Delta Plus subtype is a mutation of the original Delta variant. Its behavior, severity, and transmission frequency are still being monitored.
But whatever the variant that may appear, the DOH stressed that mutations occur as part of the natural process of virus evolution.
It reminded the public to be vigilant and continue adhering to health protocols, adding that all COVID-19 cases should be managed similarly and as per current quarantine protocols.
“Each case must be immediately isolated and contact traced upon detection. Current evidence also showed that the presence or absence of a variant of interest or concern among cases do not dictate the appropriate clinical management,” said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire.
“We should always remain vigilant against COVID-19, moreso that we are safely reopening our economy,” she added.
The DOH also reminded the public that, while variants may contribute to increase or aggravate COVID-19 cases, strict and proper adherence to the minimum public health standards reduces the risk of getting exposed to COVID-19.
It also reiterated its call on the public to get vaccinated for additional protection against COVID-19.
“Our proper adherence to the minimum public health standards is still our best protection and is the best way to curb the transmission, prevent the spread of the variants and slow down the appearance of mutations,” Vergeire said.
“Getting fully-vaccinated is also another layer of protection that can help us from getting severe COVID-19,” she added.