DOH monitoring 3 COVID-19 variants
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) said Friday it is monitoring three coronavirus disease (COVID-19) variants as nations continue to grapple with the pandemic.
“Sa ngayon, mayroon na tayong tatlong variant na binabantayan. Ito yung sa UK na type na variant, ito yung sa South Africa na variant and then there was this identified variant dito naman sa Malaysia,” DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire said in a press briefing.
Vergeire said the Philippine Genome Center (PGC), which earlier conducted a genome sequencing on samples of passengers from countries with reported cases of the UK COVID-19 variant, is continuing its bio-surveillance measures.
The DOH official said that following the discovery of the UK COVID-19 variant, bio-surveillance measures have been strengthened across the globe.
In the case of the Philippines, Vergeire said the PGC conducts whole genome sequencing which means that “even if the supposed variant is still not in the radar for surveillance of the country, once the PGC detects unusual mutation patterns, which might be the variant in question, then it will be noted and reported to us.”
“This will be a continuing thing, this biosurveillance. We are appropriating funds to the Philippine Gnome Center so that we can sustain this because this is important for our surveillance system,” Vergeire said.
With the discovery of the new variants, Vergeire reminded the public to practice minimum public health standards.
“Gusto ko lang magpaalala, kahit na anong variant yan, kahit anong strain, kahit among mutation, ituloy lang natin ang minimum public health standards because with all of these news about the strains, the variants, the mutation, hindi naman nabago ang mode of transmission,” Vergeire said.
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