Press Release | 13 March 2021
The Department of Health (DOH), the University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC), and the University of the Philippines-National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) confirm the detection of 59 new cases positive for the B.1.1.7 variant (UK variant), 32 additional cases positive for the
B.1.351 variant (South Africa variant), and thirteen (13) cases with mutations of possible clinical significance (E484K and N501Y mutations).
The DOH, UP-PGC, and UP-NIH likewise confirm the detection of one (1) case positive for the P.1 variant (so-called Brazilian variant) on a Returning Overseas Filipino (ROF) from Western Visayas. These additional cases were among the tenth batch of 752 samples sequenced by the UP-PGC, with the majority of samples coming from NCR, CALABARZON, and CAR.
ON B.1.1.7 CASES:
Of the additional 59 B.1.1.7 variant cases, 30 are local cases, 18 are ROFs, and 11 are currently being verified if they are local or ROF cases. This brings the total number of B.1.1.7 cases in the country to 177.
Sixteen (16) of the local cases are from the Cordillera Administrative Region, 10 are from the National Capital Region, 2 are from Central Luzon, and 2 are from CALABARZON.
ON B.1.351 CASES:
Of the 32 B.1.351 variant cases, 21 are local cases, 1 is an ROF, and 10 are still being verified as to location. Meanwhile, 19 of the local cases are from NCR, 1 is from Cagayan Valley, and 1 is from Northern Mindanao. This brings the total number of B.1.351 cases in the country to 90.
ON CASES WITH THE P.3 VARIANT:
The UP-PGC previously detected 85 cases with a unique set of mutations, including both E484K and N501Y mutations. Upon verification with the Phylogenetic Assignment of Named Global Outbreak Lineages (PANGOLIN), the said samples with these mutations have been reassigned to the P.3 variant, belonging to the B.1.1.28 lineage, to which the P.1 variant also belongs. Thirteen (13) additional cases were detected in this batch which bring the total P.3 variant cases in the country to 98.
The DOH, UP-PGC, and UP-NIH emphasize that at present, the P.3 is NOT identified as a variant of concern as current available data are insufficient to conclude whether the variant will have significant public health implications.
ON THE DETECTION OF THE P.1 VARIANT CASE:
The one (1) case found with the P.1 variant is a Returning Overseas Filipino (ROF) from Brazil. Additional information about the case is currently being investigated.
The P.1 variant was first detected in Japan by the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID) among four (4) travelers from Brazil. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is evidence to suggest that transmissibility and the ability of antibodies generated through previous infection is affected by some mutations of this variant.
However, the DOH emphasizes that correct and consistent adherence to the minimum public health standards will prevent the transmission of these variants. Further, the DOH strongly urges all local government units (LGUs) to facilitate and implement necessary interventions to mitigate the continued increase in the number of cases.