Omicron won’t be last COVID-19 variant, expert warns

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 04 2022 02:39 PM

Creative rendition of SARS-CoV-2, displaying a 3D print of the virus (red and blue; the red virus surface is covered with blue spike proteins that enable the virus to enter and infect human cells), and a background image that is a colorized scanning electron micrograph of a cell (blue) infected with the Omicron strain of the virus (red). Note: not to scale. Credit: NIAID
Creative rendition of SARS-CoV-2, displaying a 3D print of the virus (red and blue; the red virus surface is covered with blue spike proteins that enable the virus to enter and infect human cells), and a background image that is a colorized scanning electron micrograph of a cell (blue) infected with the Omicron strain of the virus (red). Note: not to scale. Credit: NIAID

MANILA — The COVID-19 omicron variant will not be the last variant of concern despite a global rollout of vaccinations, an infectious diseases expert said Tuesday.

"Definitely, hindi. Hindi magiging huling variant ang omicron dahil patuloy ang pag-mutate ng virus at marami pa ring mga tao, unfortunately, na hindi pa rin nababakuhan o hindi pa rin nabo-boost," Dr. Edsel Salvana said in a televised briefing.

He said the virus replicates quicker in unvaccinated people, which means the greater the risk of mutations.

"Habang may mga tao pong ganiyan, may pockets na unvaccinated, the threat of a new variant is always there," added Salvana, who is a member of the Department of Health's technical advisory group.

He warned that vulnerable groups are most at risk for COVID-19 infection.

He called on the public to complete their primary series of vaccination and get boosted.

Last week, the DOH detected 1,400 additional cases of highly contagious offshoots of the COVID-19 omicron variant.

These were 1,200 new cases of the omicron BA.5, 33 more cases of the BA.4, three of BA.2.75, two of BA.2.12.1, and 162 tagged as "other sublineages".

All omicron variants tend to have a milder disease course as they settle less in the lungs and more in the upper nasal passages, causing symptoms like fever, tiredness, and loss of smell.

As of Oct. 2, more than 73.1 million people in the country are fully vaccinated against the respiratory disease, the DOH said.

Of the figure, over 19.7 million have received their first booster dose while more than 2.9 million have gotten their second booster shots.

In the past week, the Philippines recorded 16,017 additional COVID-19 cases.

During the week of Sept. 26-Oct. 2, an average of 2,288 daily infections were recorded in the country, which is 10 percent lower compared to the previous week.

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