MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH), the University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC), and the University of the Philippines-National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) on Saturday confirmed the detection of the first case of Brazilian coronavirus variant or the P.1 variant.
In their joint report the DOH, UP-PGC, and UP-NIH said the P.1 variant that was detected on a Returning Overseas Filipino (ROF) from Brazil with an address in Western Visayas. Additional information about the case is currently being investigated.
“The P.1 variant was first detected in Japan by the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID) among four (4) travelers from Brazil,” the report said.
“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is evidence to suggest that transmissibility and the ability of antibodies generated through the previous infection are affected by some mutations of this variant,” it added.
Nevertheless, the DOH reiterated that “correct and consistent adherence to the minimum public health standards will prevent the transmission of these variants.”
Meanwhile, health experts also confirmed the detection of 59 new cases of B.1.1.7 (UK) and 32 additional cases of B.1.351 (South Africa) variants and thirteen cases “with mutations of possible clinical significance (E484K and N501Y mutations)”.
The additional 59 B.1.1.7 variant cases comprised 30 local cases, 18 ROFs and 11 still being verified whether local or ROF.
This brings the total number of B.1.1.7 cases in the country to 177.
The 32 B.1.351 variant cases, on the other hand, are composed of 21 local cases, 1 ROF, and 10 still under verification.
The DOH said the country’s total number of B.1.351 cases is now 90.
These newly detected cases were among the tenth batch of 752 samples sequenced by the UP-PGC, with the majority of samples coming from NCR, CALABARZON, and CAR.
The health department also reported that “the UP-PGC previously detected 85 cases with a unique set of mutations, including both E484K and N501Y mutations.”
The report stated that upon verification with the Phylogenetic Assignment of Named Global Outbreak Lineages (PANGOLIN), the said samples with these mutations have been reassigned to the P.3 variant, belonging to the B.1.1.28 lineage, to which the P.1 variant also belongs.
Thirteen (13) additional cases were detected in this batch which brings the total P.3 variant cases in the country to 98.
The DOH, UP-PGC, and UP-NIH emphasized that, at present, the P.3 is NOT identified as a variant of concern as currently available data are insufficient to conclude whether the variant will have significant public health implications.