Video from the Laging Handa briefing of the PCOO
MANILA — The Department of Health on Wednesday said that it will know by Thursday or Friday if any new coronavirus variant has already entered the Philippines.
“Itong 2nd batch of results (of genome sequencing) na kasama ang kinontact trace natin with contacts of this Filipina who turned positive in Hong Kong, ito ay lalabas maaaring bukas o sa Biyernes,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a Laging Handa briefing.
(The 2nd batch of results that include samples from the contacts of the Filipina who turned positive in Hong Kong might be released by tomorrow or Friday.)
Gene sequencing is a process that allows scientists to see how a virus has mutated based on the samples from COVID-positive patients.
So far, gene sequencing efforts in the Philippines has not yielded the new variant from the United Kingdom that is said to be more transmissible.
In an ABS-CBN TeleRadyo interview on Tuesday, Vergeire said more than 500 samples were being processed by the Philippine Genome Center, including those taken from patients in the National Capital Region, the Visayas and Mindanao.
Vergeire on Wednesday said that they are now looking at the other variants as well.
“At inuumpisahan na natin itong genomic biosurveillance kung saan linggo-linggo na tayo mangongolekta ng specimen sa ating sektor na vulnerable at identified to be at risk, para makita natin kung may nagdedevelop na mga variant dito sa ating bansa,” she added.
(And we have started genomic biosurveillance where we collect specimen weekly from our vulnerable and at risk sectors to see if any new variant has developed in the country.)
She said the COVID test results of the Filipino domestic helper’s contacts will also be released with the genome sequence results.
Vergeire said the Filipino who is still in Hong Kong was admitted to a hospital due to COVID-19 “but she is stable as of now.”