10 more Indian variant cases detected bringing to 12 total B.1.617.2 cases in PHL


(Eagle News) — Ten more Indian variant cases were detected in the Philippines bringing the total number number of B.1.617.2 cases in the country to 12.

The Department of Health said that the “latest sequencing run included the samples from the crew members of the MV Athens Bridge, returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) with relevant travel history, and deceased severe or critical COVID-19 cases.”

The DOH said that the 10 new cases were in addition to the two cases reported on May 11. Of the 10 new cases, one was a seafarer who came from Belgium and the other nine were crew members of MV Athens Bridge.

The Indian variant is said to be more infectious than previous variaants, and could be better at evading immunity.

-Indian variant better at evading immunity-

According to a recent article of “nature.com” there is growing evidence that this “variant first detected in India might be more transmissible and slightly better at evading immunity than existing variants.”

“Animal models also hint that it might be able to cause more severe disease,” it said.

According to the DOH, the seafarer, among the 10 cases found to be positive for COVID-19, disembarked in Belgium and flew back to Manila via the United Arab Emirates (UAE). “He arrived in the Philippines on a flight last April 24, 2021. He completed his isolation period last May 13, 2021.”

“The other nine B.1.617.2 cases were from the 12 PCR-positive Filipino crew of MV Athens Bridge. Four of the nine B.1.617.2 cases remain admitted at a hospital in Manila and are currently in stable condition while the other five are currently in an isolation facility,” its latest report said.

“Samples of the other three PCR-positive crew members were not eligible for sequencing. Likewise, these three crew members remain in an isolation facility,” it added.

The DOH also assured the public that all of the close contacts of the first two cases of the Indian variant first reported on May 11 “have completed the prescribed 14-day quarantine and have been discharged from their quarantine facility.”

“Of the three initially reported COVID-19 positive cases that are close contacts of the 2nd case in the plane, one was sent for sequencing but was not detected to harbor a variant of concern (VOC),” it said.

Aside from 10 additional variant cases, the DOH also reported the detection of 13 B.1.1.7 variant cases (or so-called UK variant), seven (7) B.1.351 variant cases (or the South African variant), and one (1) P.3 variant case (a variant first detected in PHL) among the 37 samples sequenced last May 14.

“While the government is implementing stricter border control measures, the DOH urges the public to strictly adhere to the minimum public health standards and immediately get vaccinated when it’s their turn. By following these measures, infection and further mutation of COVID-19 can be prevented. A low transmission rate means fewer chances for the virus to mutate,” the DOH said.

(Eagle News Service)