Philippines: Omicron sub-variant BA.2 more prevalent than BA.1 in latest batch

The Philippines Department of Health (DOH) reports that of the latest batch of samples sequenced, 677 samples, more than 91 percent were the Omicron variant (618) and five percent were the Delta variant of COVID-19 (35).

Image by visuals3Dde from Pixabay

In addition, health officials report the BA.2 sub-lineage was found to be the majority of Omicron cases in the latest batch.

Data gathered by the DOH, the University of the Philippines – Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC), and the University of the Philippines – National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) showed that there is no significant difference in BA.1 and BA.2 characteristics in terms of transmissibility or severity of disease. The DOH shall continue to investigate why BA.2 has become more prevalent than BA.1 but so far the detection of BA.2 does not entail any significant change in the COVID-19 response.

The 618 Omicron variant cases were composed of 497 local cases and 121 Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs). Of the 497 local cases, the indicated addresses of the cases were from the National Capital Region with 238 cases, CALABARZON with 71 cases, Ilocos Region and Western Visayas with 30 cases each, Eastern Visayas with 28 cases, Central Luzon with 27 cases, Central Visayas with 20 cases, Cagayan Valley with 19 cases, Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) with 13 cases, Davao Region with 10 cases, SOCCSKSARGEN with six (6) cases, while there were two (2) cases each from Bicol Region and MIMAROPA and one (1) case from Northern Mindanao.

To date, there is a total of five deaths among confirmed Omicron cases, while the total number of confirmed Omicron variant cases is now 1,153.

The earliest detection of the BA.2 sub-lineage was on December 31, 2021 .

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