‘Globally dominant’ novel coronavirus strain detected in Philippines

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The Philippine Genome Center (PGC) reported a more contagious and “globally dominant” strain of , the virus that causes the disease 2019 (COVID-19), was detected in the Philippines.

PCG confirmed in its first SARS-CoV-2 bulletin published last week the presence of D614G or the “G” variant in a small sample of COVID-19 cases in Quezon City.

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According to several international studies, the G variant has become the “globally dominant form of SARS-CoV-2.”

“Together with the observation that G614 is now the dominant viral state, the authors claim that the said mutation can increase the viral rate of transmission,” the PGC said.

Dr. Edsel Salvaña, a member of the government’s Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) technical advisory group, earlier said the surge of transmissions in July could have been partly due to the G variant. However, the PCG had not detected it in the Philippines at the time.

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“The D614G mutation makes the virus more infectious (mas nakakahawa)… It can spread faster and overwhelm our healthcare system if we don’t double our control efforts, and so it can lead to a higher number of overall deaths,” he had said.

In the United States, Scientists at Scripps Research also noted the G variant increased the number of infections that characterize SARS-CoV-2.

Also read: DOH to release time-based COVID-19 recoveries by August 16

‘Globally dominant’ novel coronavirus strain detected in Philippines

“However, there is still no definitive evidence showing that carriers of the G614 variant are actually more transmissible… and the mutation does not appear to substantially affect clinical outcomes as well,” the PGC said.

“Nevertheless, considering the presently wide geographic spread of G614, continuous monitoring of the said mutation… must be done in order to better understand the evolutionary trajectory of SARS-CoV-2 to inform containment, diagnostic, and therapeutic strategies,” it concluded.

The DOH earlier reminded the public to be more cautious against COVID-19 following SARS-CoV-2 mutation reports.

“We know that if you have that subtype, then you have that higher risk of transmission, so the more that we should strengthen our effort in contact tracing, in case finding, and following the health protocol,” infectious diseases specialist Dr. Rontgene Solante added in a “24 Oras Weekend” report on Sunday.

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