The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday, October 21, said that the subvariant of the highly contagious COVID-19 Delta variant has not reached Philippine shores yet.
In a statement on Thursday, the DOH said that the country had been closely monitoring 46 sublineages of the Delta variant and has so far not detected the AY.4.2 sublineage – a subvariant feared to be more contagious than the original version of the Delta variant.
“As of this moment, experts are still studying the potential impact of the Delta sublineage on the transmissibility and severity of COVID-19. The particular Delta sublineage has not yet been detected among the COVID-19 positive samples sequenced in the country,” the DOH said.
The DOH released the statement following global headlines that the Delta subvariant is driving the rise in cases in other countries such as the United Kingdom.
What we know about the Delta subvariant
AY.4.2 is one of the sublineages of the highly transmissible Delta that have been recorded across the globe. It has two mutations in the protein – Y145H and A222V – that the virus uses to latch onto and enter a human cell.
Scientists in the United Kingdom said that their initial studies showed that AY.4.2 is 10% to 15% more transmissible than the original Delta, which can infect up to eight people.
The Telegraph reported that even if future studies confirm its increased transmissibility, “experts say a slightly more infectious subvariant will not trigger the same dramatic surge we saw with both Delta and Alpha.”
“While this is being investigated, we emphasize that regardless of the variant, all COVID-19 cases should be managed similarly and as per current protocols,” the DOH said.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that the public’s adherence is still “our best protection and is the best way to curb the transmission, prevent the spread of the variants, and slow down the appearance of mutations.”
The report on the subvariant of Delta comes as a number of countries, including the Philippines, are recovering from the surge in infections driven by the original version of Delta. – Rappler.com