Filtered By: Topstories

DOH: 17 more Arcturus cases detected, total at 28

Seventeen additional cases of the COVID-19 Omicron subvariant XBB.1.16 or “Arcturus” were detected in the country, based on the latest biosurveillance report of the Department of Health (DOH).

Results of the genome sequencing from May 15 to May 19 showed that seven Arcturus cases were identified in Western Visayas, five in Davao Region, two in the National Capital Region, and one each in Bicol Region, Central Visayas, and Mimaropa.

This brought the total Arcturus caseload to 28.

The XBB.1.16 is tagged as a “variant of interest” by the World Health Organization (WHO), and a “variant under monitoring” by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire earlier said there is likely a local transmission of Arcturus in the Philippines, considering that there is already “no linkage” to the recent cases detected.

Other subvariants

Aside from the Arcturus, the DOH reported that out of the 279 samples recently sequenced by the Philippine Genome Center, 41 were cases of Omicron subvariant BA.2.3.20, one was XBC, four were other sublineages, while 34 had no assigned lineage.

There were also 101 new local cases of XBB.1.9.1 found; 25 for XBB.1.5; 17 for XBB.1.9.2; 10 for XBB.2.3; and 29 for other XBB sublineages.

DOH said XBB.2.3 is an XBB sublineage that was added to the list of WHO’s “variants under monitoring” on May 17.

Currently available evidence for the sublineage, however, “does not suggest any differences in disease severity and/or clinical manifestations compared to the original Omicron variant.”—AOL, GMA Integrated News