Philippines' first Lambda variant patient, not an OFW: DOH


Posted at Aug 16 2021 07:55 AM | Updated as of Aug 16 2021 08:58 AM

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MANILA - The Philippines' first patient with the Lambda COVID-19 variant is a local case and not a returning Filipino migrant worker, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Monday.

The 35-year-old female patient was pregnant when she tested positive for the coronavirus in July and has since recovered, according to Health Undersecretary and spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire.

"Itong ating kababayan nung nagkaroon ito ay wala siyang sintomas pero siya ay kailangan i-monitor nang maigi dahil buntis po siya," she told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.

(The patient was asymptomatic but she had to be monitored carefully because she was pregnant.)

The DOH is conducting continued contact tracing and collection of samples for whole genome sequencing, Vergeire said. It is also coordinating with the patient's hospital if she has already given birth as her expected date of delivery was late July, Vergeire added.

"Yung virus po hindi siya nagko-cross ng placental barrier," she said.

(The virus doesn't cross placental barrier.)

The Lambda variant is a variant of interest with high transmissibility "comparable to the Delta variant," according to Vergeire. 

"Base sa analysis natin, hindi naman po siya mas kumakalat compared to the Delta variant," she said.

(Based on our analysis, it does not transmit faster compared to the Delta variant.)

It also affects a patient's immunity to COVID-19 vaccines and antibodies if they were previously infected with the coronavirus, she said.

COVID-19 vaccines should still work as the Lambda variant does not affect cell-mediated immunity, Vergeire added.

"Wala ho tayong ebidensiya ng resistance against sa COVID-19 vaccine," she said. "All our vaccines are still effective in variants of concern."

(We have no evidence that this is resistant against COVID-19 vaccines.)

The Philippines has so far logged 807 Delta variant cases out of a total 1,741,616 infections.