THE University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC) has detected 678 additional cases with variants of Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
As of Tuesday, May 4, 2021, a total of 2,181 cases with the variants B.1.1.7, B.1.351, P.1 and P.3 have been detected in the Philippines.
These four variants accounted for nearly 37 percent of the 5,917 sequenced samples that were assigned Sars-CoV-2 lineages, the Department of Health (DOH) said. It did not specify the lineage or lineages assigned to the rest.
As of May 4, UP-PGC has already sequenced a total of 7,167 samples.
In a statement Tuesday, the Department of Health (DOH) said the additional 678 cases included 289 B.1.1.7 variant cases, 380 B.1.351 variant cases, and nine P.3 variant cases.
These were detected among the 744 samples sequenced by the UP-PGC. No additional cases with the P.1 variant were reported.
Of the additional 289 B.1.1.7 variant cases, 48 involved returning overseas Filipinos (ROF), 185 were local cases, and 56 were under verification.
Only three of the 289 remained active. Two had died while 284 have recovered.
These additional cases raised the number of B.1.1.7 cases in the country to 948, or 16 percent of the 5,917 samples that were assigned Sars-CoV-2 lineages.
The B.1.1.7 variant was first detected in the United Kingdom.
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Of the 380 additional B.1.351 variant cases, 107 involved ROFs, 196 were local cases, and 77 were being verified.
Only one case was still active as of May 4 while 379 have been tagged as recovered.
As of May 4, the total number of B.1.351 cases has increased to 1,075, around 18 percent of the samples that were assigned lineages.
The DOH denied speculations that the B.1.351 variant, which was first reported in South Africa, is the dominant form of the virus causing infections in the Philippines.
Meanwhile, the nine additional P.3 variant cases included three ROFs, four local cases and two cases which were being verified. All cases have recovered.
There are now 157 P.3 variant cases in the country.
The P.3, which the DOH said is not a variant of concern given the lack of data, was first found in the Philippines.
The P.3 and P.1 variants constituted 2.7 percent and 0.03%, respectively, of the sequenced samples with lineages. (Marites Villamor-Ilano / SunStar Philippines)