Philippines detects first cases of omicron BA.2.75 subvariant

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 02 2022 11:32 AM | Updated as of Aug 02 2022 02:14 PM

Transmission electron micrograph of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, isolated from a patient. Image captured and color-enhanced at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland. Credit: NIAID
Transmission electron micrograph of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, isolated from a patient. Image captured and color-enhanced at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland. Credit: NIAID

MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippines has detected its first 2 cases of the omicron BA.2.75 subvariant, the Department of Health said Tuesday.

The patients, both from Western Visayas, have recovered, according to DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire. Their exposure and travel histories have yet to be verified, she said.

One of the patients was partially vaccinated, while the other was unvaccinated, Vergeire added. 

The subvariant, nicknamed "Centaurus" for its rapid spread, first emerged in India in May and has since spread to around 10 countries, including the United States, Britain, Germany and Australia.

"Apparently based on studies and experience of other countries, this is more transmissible and this has also more immune evasion compared to the BA.5. Wala pa siyang ebidensiya na ito ay nakaka-cause ng more severe infection," she told reporters.

(There's no evidence yet that it causes more severe infection.)

More cases of omicron BA.5, BA.4, and BA.2.12.1 logged

The country has also detected 1,015 additional cases of the omicron BA.5, 26 more cases of the BA.4, and 18 new cases of the BA2.12.1, according to Vergeire.

The latest figures raise the country's total to 3,012 BA.5 cases, 172 BA.2.12.1 cases, and 97 BA.4 cases, Vergeire said.

All regions except Zamboanga Peninsula and Northern Mindanao logged a case of the omicron BA.5 in the latest whole genome sequencing, the DOH OIC said. Three of the additional BA.5 cases were returning Filipinos, she added.

Of the 1,015 new BA.5 cases, a total of 883 have recovered, while 84 were undergoing isolation, and the status of the remaining 48 patients was being verified, according to Vergeire.

A total of 26 more BA.4 cases were also reported, of which 21 have recovered, while 2 patients were still under isolation and the status of remaining 3 patients was being verified, Vergeire said.

Seventeen of the newly-reported BA.4 cases were fully vaccinated, 2 were not vaccinated and the vaccination status of the remaining patients was still being verified, Vergeire added.

Meantime, 18 more BA.2.12.1 cases were logged, of which 13 have recovered, 4 were under isolation and the status of the remaining patient was being verified, according to the DOH OIC.

Eleven were fully vaccinated, 2 were not vaccinated, while the vaccination status of the remaining five was being verified, Vergeire said.

The exposure and travel histories of all patients have yet to be identified, Vergeire added.

PH still 'low risk' for COVID-19

The Philippines remains low risk for COVID-19 due to a low healthcare utilization rate even as cases continued to rise.

The country has an average daily attack rate of 2.9 cases per 100,000 population, with more than half of hospital admissions asymptomatic or experiencing mild symptoms, Vergeire said.

--With a report from Agence France-Presse
 

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