‘More contagious’ South African variant of COVID-19 virus, also recorded in PH: DOH

MANILA – There are also cases of the so-called more contagious B.1.351 (South African) variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the Philippines.  

This was confirmed by the Department of Health (DOH) after the results of the eighth batch of samples that underwent whole genome sequencing came out.

According to the agency, six cases have been reported in the South African variant, which is also said to have an effect on the efficacy of vaccines.

“To date, there are already 48 countries with reported cases of the B.1.351 variant. While there is no evidence that this variant causes more severe disease, the pattern of mutations within this variant suggests higher transmissibility and may have an impact on vaccine efficacy, ”the press release said.

Of the first six cases, three were local cases.

They are all residents of Pasay City, with samples taken between January 27 and February 13.

The 40-year-old man has recovered, but the 61-year-old woman and 39-year-old man are still “active cases.”

Returning overseas Filipinos (ROF) from the United Arab Emirates and Qatar are two other South African variant cases.

While the DOH is still investigating whether the remaining local case or ROF is another detected with a new variant.

“Their statuses are currently being verified.”

The Health department has appealed to the public to maintain minimum public health standards, as it is still one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

On Monday, the Philippines began the official rollout of coronavirus vaccines, using the Chinese-developed CoronaVac of the Sinovac company.

The total number of victims of COVID-19 in the Philippines has reached 578,381.

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