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Philippine Genome Center to assess more samples to see if new virus variant present


The Philippine Genome Center (PGC) will study more recent samples to see if the new variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), has reached the country.

According to Lei Alviz’ “24 Oras” report on Monday, studies show that B.1.1.7, the new variant recently discovered in the United Kingdom, is up to 70 percent more transmissible.

“Hindi pa naman nakikita sa mga samples natin which we did until October. Hindi po natin alam kung yung November or December samples natin, meron na or wala, kaya the next weeks, ito po ‘yung ating gagawin together with our partners,” Dr. Cynthia Saloma said.

New variants have also been identified in Malaysia, South Africa, and Nigeria.

The PGC said SARS-CoV-2 has around 12,000 mutations, but not all of them are significant.

"Ang SARS-COV2 virus ay nagkaroon ng maraming iba't-ibang klaseng variants and the reason why siguro, mas aware lang tayo dito. Basically, because they discovered that this variant is more transmissible,” infectious disease expert Dr. Ana Lisa Ong-Lim said.

“Puwedeng mangyari na maging mas mahina or mas less ang effective 'yung bakuna, puwedeng walang impact. Puwedeng kung ano 'yung ating assessment of efficacy nu'ng simula ay siya rin 'yung efficacy in the end,” she added. -- Julia Mari Ornedo/BAP, GMA News

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