DOH: All cases with COVID-19 mutations in Central Visayas out of quarantine

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 19 2021 03:50 PM

DOH: All cases with COVID-19 mutations in Central Visayas out of quarantine 1
The usually busy Mango Avenue in Cebu City is empty during the COVID-19 lockdown on June 16, 2020. Cheryl Baldicantos, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - All coronavirus cases in Central Visayas that were discovered with 2 mutations of COVID-19 only exhibited mild symptoms and have finished quarantine, health officials said Friday.

"All the cases in Central Visayas with the 2 mutations of concern, and these are the E484K as well as the N501Y, exhibited only mild symptoms and have been cleared from their quarantine," Dr. Cynthia Saloma, executive director of the Philippine Genome Center, said in a virtual press briefing.

She said they would continue to investigate the mutations through enhanced genomic biosurveillance of surrounding provinces and regions.

Dr. Jaime Bernadas, regional director of the Department of Health in Central Visayas, added that all cases "were mild and 2 were even asymptomatic."

"Of the cases that were given [to] us, we reviewed the data of these cases, I presumed every one of them are already out in their homes and communities," he said.

Faced with 2 mutations of SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing the illness, Bernadas said they would investigate and heighten the surveillance of the vicinities where the cases were reported.

Courtesy of DOH

The health ministry on Thursday confirmed the detection of 2 mutations of "potential clinical significance" of COVID-19 in Central Visayas. They were identified as E484K and N501Y.

The E484K mutation, which means changes in its genetic sequence, is present in the South African variant of SARS-CoV-2.

Meanwhile, the N501Y mutation is also found in the UK coronavirus variant, which has been associated by experts with higher transmissibility.

A variant refers to a virus that has developed a specific group of mutations causing it to behave differently against the strain it had originated from.

Saloma said they received 70 samples from Central Visayas on Feb. 6, of which 59 met the criteria for whole genome sequencing.

Of the 59 samples sequenced, 50 were assigned lineages, she added. Thirty-one of the 50 samples with lineages, which refers to larger groupings representing subtypes of the virus, contained the 2 mutations.