PH detects 114 more cases of COVID-19 variants

UNTV News   •   March 20, 2021   •   348

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday reported the detection 114 additional cases of various COVID-19 variants.

In a statement, the DOH said it has discovered 46 new cases with the B.1.1.7 variant (UK variant); 62 additional B.1.351 variant (South Africa) cases, and six more P.3 variant cases.

These new cases were among the 150 samples composed mostly of samples from National Capital Region laboratories. Information of cases with these variants are being investigated and verified.

Of the 46 UK variant cases, 36 are from the National Capital Region, two (2) are Returning Overseas Filipino (ROFs), and eight (8) cases are currently being verified if they are local or ROF cases.  The country’s tally for the B.1.1.7 variant is now at 223.

Among 62 South African variant cases, 43 are local cases of which 41 from NCR and two (2) are from CALABARZON. The remaining 19 are being verified if they are local or ROF cases.

Of the six (6) additional P.3 variant cases, four (4) are local cases and two (2) are being verified if they are local cases or ROFs. The four (4) local cases are from NCR. All six (6) cases are currently active.

The DOH, UP-PGC, and UP-NIH emphasize that at present, the P.3 variant is still NOT identified as a variant of concern as current available data are insufficient to conclude whether the variant will have significant public health implications.

The health department urges the public not to leave their homes unless extremely necessary and to avoid the closed spaces, crowded places, and close contact settings to minimize COVID-19 transmission and avoid further mutations.

Philippines detects first case of Brazilian COVID-19 variant; more cases of UK, South Africa variants

Maris Federez   •   March 13, 2021

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.

Pfizer vaccine, kayang i-neutralize ang bagong COVID-19 variant na natukoy sa Brazil

Freema Gloria   •   March 9, 2021

Kayang i-neutralize ng COVID-19 vaccine na gawa ng Pfizer-BioNTech ang bagong variant ng coronavirus o ang tinatawag na P.1 variant na lumalaganap ngayon sa bansang Brazil, ayon sa pagsusuri ng mga siyentipiko.

Batay sa isang laboratory study na inilathala ng New England Journal of Medicine, ang neutralizing ability ng nasabing bakuna sa bagong variant ng virus at sa less contagious version ng virus noong nakaraang taon ay halos pareho lamang.

Ang pangunahing target ng COVID-19 vaccine ay ang spike, na siyang ginagamit ng virus upang makapasok sa human cells.

Sa nakalipas na pagsusuri, nagawang i-neutralize ng Pfizer vaccine ang iba pang mas nakahahawang variant na unang natukoy sa United Kingdom at South Africa, bagamat maaaring bawasan ng South African variant ang protective antibodies na pinuproduce ng katawan sa tulong ng naturang bakuna.

At kahit naniniwala ang Pfizer na epektibo ang kanilang bakuna laban sa South African variant, magsasagawa pa rin ang naturang drugmaker ng ikatlong booster dose ng bakuna.

Pinag-aaralan din ng Pfizer ang paggagawa ng retooled version ng bakuna na lalaban sa South African variant upang magkaroon pa sila ng mas malalim na kaalaman sa immune response dito.

DOH reports new cases of COVID-19 variants first detected in UK, South Africa

Marje Pelayo   •   March 5, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday (March 5) reported 52 cases of the COVID-19 variant first seen in South Africa known as B.1.351 variant.

This was confirmed from the sequencing conducted by the DOH in cooperation with UP-Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC), and the UP-National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH).

Of the 52 cases who tested positive for the B.1.351 variant, 41 have addresses in the National Capital Region (NCR), while 11 cases are being verified whether they are local cases or returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs). 

One case from NCR has recovered, while the remaining 51 cases are currently tagged as active and are being managed.

Meanwhile, 31 new cases of the COVID-19 UK variant (B.1.17) were also detected. 

According to the DOH, 28 of the B.1.1.7 cases are from the NCR, while three cases are being verified if they are local cases or returning overseas Filipinos.

All 31 are active cases, the DOH said. 

Moreover, of 42 cases with mutations of potential clinical significance were also detected, 34 are from Region 7, six from the NCR, and two cases are being verified if they are local cases or ROFs. 

Twenty-two of the 34 cases from Region 7 are now recovered. 

Meanwhile, the remaining 12 Region 7 cases, all 6 NCR cases, and both cases being verified, are tagged as active cases.

Currently, the DOH and its concerned Centers for Health Development is coordinating with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and Local Government Units (LGUs) in NCR and Region 7 to institute measures to contain further transmission of these variants and mutations. 

Health authorities are reminding the public of their individual responsibilities to follow the minimum public health standards at all times and in all settings. 

This includes the conscious effort of properly wearing a mask and face shield, and observing physical distancing.

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