‘Mother virus’ of PH likely from India- IATF health expert


A health expert from IATF said the “” or the SARS-CoV-2 strain, the virus that causes , in the Philippines was likely from India. 

unnamed 3
Dr. Edsel Salvaña is also the director of the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at the University of the Philippines – National Institutes of Health. (Image from manila40)

Dr. Edsel Salvaña, a member of the government’s Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) technical advisory group, said the most genetically-related coronavirus in the country came from the South Asian nation. The finding was based on the genome sequencing study. 


“Hindi natin alam kung Indian’ yon or may nag-travel lang sa India. Basta alam natin’ yong pinaka-related na virus na parang mother virus na nandito sa atin ngayon actually originated from India,” Salvaña told Teleradyo.

(We don’t know if it’s Indian or just travelled to India. We only know that the most related virus, like a mother virus we have today, is actually from India.)

He explained the country had sequenced 12 genomes so far from the more than 10,000 others across the world.


He said the Philippines had sequenced 12 genomes so far from the more than 10,000 others worldwide. The “genome of an organism is the whole of its hereditary information encoded in its DNA (or, for some viruses, RNA).”

Salvaña said the virus strain from India could have caused the COVID-19 outbreak in the Philippines, which already infected more than 13,000 people in the country. 

Also read: Trump says US investigating whether coronavirus came from Wuhan lab

‘Mother virus’ of PH likely from India

“Puwedeng may nag-travel, kahit anong nationality. Dumaan muna siya sa India, tapos nahawa siya do’n tapos na-introduce niya sa Pilipinas or may isang Pilipino na nasa India tapos binalik niya after siya nag-tour,” said Salvaña. 

(It is possible that someone traveled, any nationality. He first came to India. Then he got infected, and then he introduced the virus to the Philippines, or there was a Filipino in India, then he returned it after his tour.)

He also explained the “mother virus” in the Philippines traveled around the world first before it came to the country. 

“‘Yong sa India, nanggaling sa Australia and then ‘yong galing sa Australia galing sa China. So umikot muna siya ng mundo bago siya dumating sa atin,” Salvaña said.

(That one from India, it first came from Australia. And then the virus from Australia came from China. So it traveled around the world first before it came to us.)

Scientists said genetic sequencing could help experts understand the virus strain mutation, origin, and vaccine development.