“Of the 98 cases that we have detected to be positive for the P.3 variant, I think 80 percent were coming from Region 7,” said Department of Health-Epidemiology Bureau head Dr. Alethea de Guzman.
The DOH is still verifying the location of 20 percent of the cases because the patients may have been tested elsewhere but live in other regions of the country due to the more relaxed movement of people now.
The DOH is also studying the effect of the P.3 variant with N501Y and E484K mutations also found in the UK, South Africa, and Brazil variants.
According to De Guzman, the N501Y mutation has been reported to be more contagious while the E484K mutation may affect the effectiveness of vaccines.
Public Health England (PHE) said Tuesday that the P.3 variant which was first detected in the Philippines was being investigated after two cases were identified in England.
80% of P.3 variant cases detected in Central Visayas
DOH Technical Advisory Group Member and Pediatric Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Anna Ong-Lim, who confirmed to them that a new variant has been seen in the Philippines but will not be called the Philippine variant and instead is P.3 so as not to be accustomed to being attached to name of a country because it causes discrimination.
Earlier, the Japan Health Ministry announced that a passenger from the Philippines tested positive for another variant of COVID-19.
Ong-Lim confirmed Japan’s announcement of the new variant from the Philippines.
Ong-Lim added that there is not enough data to say whether the P. 3 variant is more contagious or causes more serious illness or has an association with higher mortality rates.