The Philippine Genome Center (PGC) reported that 9.9 percent of the 4,000 samples they analyzed were new COVID-19 variants.
According to Dr. Cynthia Salome, Executive Director of the PGC, the data was based on 4,751 samples that were subjected to genome sequencing by the PGC since 2021 started.
“4,050 have been found to be variants of concern. Two hundred thirty-seven were of UK variant, 163 of South Africa variant. One hundred four is a variant discovered in Central Visayas, one is a variant from Brazil. The UK variant has a higher fatality in elderly, while the South African variant tends to lower the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines,” Salome said during the Laging Handa briefing.
“This means 9.9 percent accounted for variants of concern in the Philippines since we started genomic biosurveillance in January,” Salome added.
Salome emphasized that while the new COVID-19 variants are more infectious by 50%, the recent surge in infections cannot be solely blamed on the emergence of new variants.
“Yes, they are more infectious and we have seen transmission in households, but the surge of COVID-19 cases is really a combination of many factors,” Salome pointed out.
PGC: 9.9% of over 4k samples account for new COVID-19 variants
“Maybe because of the long sacrifices we have done [due to quarantine restrictions], there was a drop in compliance in minimum public health standards, the belief that the COVID-19 vaccines are coming and these variants which came in which are more transmissible,” Salome added.
Last month, the Department of Health said that all cities in the National Capital Region (NCR) have recorded new COVID-19 variants.
“Talagang nakita na natin itong mga variants nasa lahat na ng cities dito sa atin sa Metro Manila… Meron na tayo either the UK variant or the South African variant,” said DOH spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire.
The UK and South African COVID-19 variants are both said to be more contagious and may cause more infections.
The Philippine Genome Center earlier said that the P.3 COVID-19 variant first detected in the Philippines developed locally and was more infectious.