The Philippine Genome Center (PGC) Visayas detected the Philippines’ first two cases of Omicron BA.2.75, a subvariant with the potential to spread rapidly.
In a press briefing earlier today, 02 August 2022, Department of Health (DOH) Officer-in-Charge Ma. Rosario Vergeire announced that the first two cases originated from Western Visayas. She also emphasized that the two have already recovered.
Omicron BA.2.75 was first detected in India last May 2022. It is known to have spread in at least ten countries, including Australia and the United States. According to initial studies, the subvariant possesses multiple mutations in its spike protein, the element responsible for making the virus transmissible.
DOH is now in the process of verifying the exposure and travel histories of the individuals who tested positive for Omicron BA.2.75.
PGC Visayas, since the beginning of its sequencing operations this January 2022, has been consistent in its biosurveillance efforts, allowing it to update DOH about emerging variants within the region accurately and in the soonest time possible.
The research institution has been working closely within the PGC network in Luzon and Mindanao, together with DOH, the UP National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH), and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) to ensure reliable and accurate biosurveillance of COVID-19 variants. The biosurveillance efforts in Western Visayas was also made possible through the partnership of PGC Visayas with the Western Visayas Medical Center– Sub-National Laboratory and the network of molecular labs in the region.
As a research institution established through the support of the Department of Science and Technology, PGC Visayas serves as a hub for collaborative genomic research. It leverages its strength in genome sequencing, mission to advance genomic science, and its applications in various fields to spearhead the utilization of omics in fisheries and aquatic research in the Philippines. (UPV IPO)