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DoH reports first case of Delta sub-variant under monitoring

THE PHILIPPINES on Monday reported its first case of the B.1.617.1 coronavirus variant, formerly called Kappa, which was classified as a “variant under monitoring” by the World Health Organization (DoH) in September.

During the time of sample collection, the B.1.617.1 variant was classified as a variant of interest, Health Undersecretary Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire told an online news briefing.

A 32-year-old male patient from Floridablanca, Pampanga who got the virus had recovered, Ms. Vergeire said. He only showed mild symptoms.

The B.1.617.1 is one of three notable sub-variants of the Delta variant. It was first detected in India in Dec. 2020. By late March, half of all reported sequences there were B.1.617.1, but that proportion fell in April according to NewScientist.

B.1.617.1 has also been called the “Indian double mutant” because of the fact that Delta has two mutations of particular concern in the spike protein of the virus.

These two mutations, known as L452R and E484Q, might make antibodies to older variants or existing vaccines less effective against the variant, but this has yet to be confirmed, it said.

Of the three sub-variants, the one of most concern is called B.1.617.2, which was also first detected in India in Dec. 2020. It remained rare until early March, when it became the dominant variant reported, NewScientist said. It has since spread to many other countries and is now the dominant strain in the UK.

DoH said the country also posted another case of the B.1.1318 coronavirus variant that triggered a virus surge in Mauritius. No additional details were given.

Philippine health authorities on Monday reported 651 more infections involving a more contagious Delta coronavirus variant, bringing the total to 5,982.

The new Delta cases accounted for 87.3% of 748 samples collected from March to October.

Ms. Vergeire also said 22 more people had been infected with the Alpha variant first detected in the United Kingdom, bringing the total to 3,128.

The country now has 3,577 cases of the Beta variant after 15 more people got infected with the virus first detected in South Africa, she added.

The Department of Health (DoH) reported 2,087 coronavirus cases on Monday, bringing the total to 2.8 million.

The death toll rose to 44,521 after 91 more patients died, while recoveries increased by 3,510 to 2.7 million, it said in a bulletin.

There were 32,077 active cases, 64.7% of which were mild, 5.8% did not show symptoms, 9.5% were severe, 16.09% were moderate and 4% were critical.

The Health department said six duplicates had been removed from the tally, five of which were recoveries, while 66 recoveries were reclassified as deaths. Eight laboratories failed to submit data on Nov 6.

DoH said 43% of intensive care units in the Philippines were occupied, while the rate in Metro Manila was 40%.

B.1.617.1 has also been called the “Indian double mutant” because of the fact that Delta has two mutations of particular concern in the spike protein of the virus.

Of the three sub-variants, the one of most concern is called B.1.617.2, which was also first detected in India in Dec. 2020. It remained rare until early March, when it became the dominant variant reported, NewScientist said. It has since spread to many other countries and is now the dominant strain in the UK.

The Philippines targets to inoculate at least 50% of its adult population by yearend.

The country was set to take delivery on Monday night of 2.8 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine from Russia, presidential spokesman Herminio L. Roque, Jr. separately told a televised news briefing.

He said almost 64.2 million doses of coronavirus vaccines had been given out as of Nov. 7.

About 29.5 million people or 38.21% of adult Filipinos have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, he added.

Mr. Roque said 426,160 doses were given out on Sunday.

More than 320,000 doses were given out on Saturday, while 938,625 doses were injected on Friday, he added. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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