DOH DETECTS CASES OF BA.2 SUB-VARIANT OF OMICRON IN LATEST SEQUENCING RUN

Press Release | 27 January 2022

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) report today that of the 677 samples sequenced, 618 Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant cases (91.29%) and 35 Delta (B.1.617.2) variant cases (5.17%) were detected in the latest batch of whole genome sequencing.

OMICRON VARIANT CASES:

Both the original Omicron lineage, B.1.1.529, and its sub-lineages, BA.1 and BA.2, have been detected in the country. The earliest detection of the BA.2 sub-lineage was on December 31, 2021 and was found to be the majority of Omicron cases in the latest batch. Data gathered by the DOH, UP-PGC, and UP-NIH showed that there is no significant difference in BA.1 and BA.2 characteristics in terms of transmissibility or severity of disease. The DOH shall continue to investigate why BA.2 has become more prevalent than BA.1 but so far the detection of BA.2 does not entail any significant change in the COVID-19 response.

The 618 Omicron variant cases were composed of 497 local cases and 121 Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs). Of the 497 local cases, the indicated addresses of the cases were from the National Capital Region with 238 cases, CALABARZON with 71 cases, Ilocos Region and Western Visayas with 30 cases each, Eastern Visayas with 28 cases, Central Luzon with 27 cases, Central Visayas with 20 cases, Cagayan Valley with 19 cases, Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) with 13 cases, Davao Region with 10 cases, SOCCSKSARGEN with six (6) cases, while there were two (2) cases each from Bicol Region and MIMAROPA and one (1) case from Northern Mindanao.

Based on the case line list, 13 cases are still active, two (2) cases have died, 560 cases have been tagged as recovered, while there are 43 cases whose outcomes are still being verified.

As of date, there is a total of five (5) deaths among confirmed Omicron cases, while the total number of confirmed Omicron variant cases is now 1,153.

DELTA VARIANT CASES:

Of the additional 35 Delta variant cases, 26 were local cases and nine (9) were ROFs. Based on the case line list, one (1) case has died, 30 have been tagged as recovered, while there are four (4) cases whose outcomes are still being verified.

The total number of confirmed Delta variant cases is now 8,647.

While studies are still underway on the possible effects of the identified ‘Stealth Omicron’ on current case trends, the Department of Health reminds the public that regardless of the variant, we must seek safety and protection to further prevent virus transmission and mutation. New protocols were put in place as a preventive measure to mitigate the risks of the different variants of the virus.

In light of this, the Department urges the public to complete their primary series of vaccines and boosters, especially those who are most vulnerable to the virus such as the elderly, the young, and the sick. The vaccines provided by the government are proven to be safe and effective in preventing hospitalization, even death caused by severe and critical symptoms. Nevertheless, we must always be vigilant and alert in our response to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.

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