Don’t worry about new COVID-19 variant in France: PH Genome Center

The public should have nothing to worry about with the new variant of COVID-19 discovered in France that is allegedly undetectable by the RT-PCR test, according to the Philippine Genome Center (PGC).

In an interview with TeleRadyo, PGC Executive Director Cynthia Saloma explained that information about the report is still very limited in France, where 8 of the 79 cases of COVID-19 were not detected in the test.

France allegedly did not detail to the global community the exact area of ​​mutation and what kit was used.

“Huwag po tayong mabahala,” said Saloma.

“Gusto ko pong sabihin sa ating mga tagapakinig na marami po tayong RT PCR kits, iba-iba po ang gene targets nila,” she said.

PGC is confident in the effectiveness and capacity of RT-PCR testing in the country.

The doctor also assured that the global community is focused on reports of mutations and variants of COVID-19.

According to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, the variant seen in France can be considered a variant of interest and not a variant of concern.

An example of a variant of concern is the more contagious variant of the coronavirus discovered in the United Kingdom.

Don’t worry about new COVID-19 variant in France: PH Genome Center

Duque also agreed that there is still very little information about the reported variant.

According to the secretary, it still needs to undergo genome sequencing.

“Siyempre, kung pakikinggan mo lang ‘yong report na hindi nade-detect ng RT-PCR, ang tatanungin mo, paano nila nalaman na may ganoon kung hindi naman pala na-detect ng RT-PCR?” said Duque.

He said the Department of Health is still awaiting notification from the World Health Organization and the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data, which are monitoring reports of alleged new mutations or variants.

The OCTA Research Group, an independent group of experts conducting studies on COVID-19 data, has previously expressed concern over the said variant from France.

Guido David of OCTA proposed to adjust the protocols to inbound passengers or those entering the Philippines.

The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases has also announced that measures to be taken in relation to the reported variant will also be discussed.