MANILA, Philippines — The World Health Organization (WHO) will help determine if the two unknown mutations of SARS-CoV-2 detected in Cebu province are a specific type of a Covid-19 variant, the Department of Health (DOH) said Saturday.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said they will submit their findings to the WHO, which will make a further study on the mutations and determine if these are new or are of the variants that are “existing globally.”
“Hindi dapat ikabahala sa ngayon. Pinag-aaaralan natin ngayon, pinagaaralan natin kung ito ay maka-classify as variant natin,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said over Laging Handa briefing, reacting to fears of a possible Covid-19 variant in Cebu.
(It shouldn’t be a threat for now. We are still studying it if it is a Philippine variant.)
“Ang virus po, normally, nagmumutate sila and for us to have a specific variant, kailangan ng lima hanggang pito na variants out of those mutations na nakikita doon sa sequence para masabi na mayroon talagang variant tayo na specific,” she added.
(The virus, normally, mutates and for us to have a specific variant, we need to look into five up to five variants out of those mutations in those sequences to say that there is already a specific variant.)
“Sa ngayon, yan ang nakikita natin. Ang gagawin natin isusubmit natin ito [sequence] sa WHO for them to classify at mabigyan ng direction kung talagang itong mga mutations na ito ay matutukoy natin doon sa mga variant na existing globally,” she further explained.
(We will send the sequence to WHO for them to classify and give direction on what these mutations are and if we can classify them with the variant that is existing globally.)
Previously, the DOH-Central Visayas disclosed that the mutations found in Cebu should be referred to as “variant of concern” and not a PH Covid-19 variant.
The regional health department said there needs to be an entire genomic sequencing to properly establish the nature of the mutated viruses and give them a more appropriate name.
The two mutations of SARS-CoV-2 were detected from at least 37 samples taken from Covid-19-infected individuals.