New variant of COVID-19 Omicron subvariant BA.2.75 known as “Centaurus” is now present in the Philippines with two cases recorded in Central Visayas.
The Department of Health (DOH) confirmed today the Philippines’ first two cases of the highly transmissible Omicron subvariant BA.2.75 known as “Centaurus.”
DOH OIC Maria Rosario Vergeire told a media briefing that the two cases were recorded in Central Visayas, and both infected persons have recovered.
She added that their exposure and travel histories are still being verified, while their vaccination history shows that one has been partially vaccinated while the other is unvaccinated.
BA.2.75 is another Omicron variant that was first detected in India in May, 2022 and has continuously spread to several countries, including the United States and Australia.
Studies show that the multiple spikes in protein makes this variant have more potential to evade vaccines, however, Vergeire said that evidence on its severity is still lacking.
“Apparently, based on studies and experience of other countries, this is more transmissible and this also has more immune evasion compared to the BA.5. Pero wala pa siyang ebidensya na ito ay nakaka-cause ng more severe infections [there is no evidence that this can cause severe infection],” she said.
This is also supported by the Vaccine Expert Panel (VEP) chief Dr. Nina Gloriani who previously said that the current booster doses against COVID-19 are still effective against the BA.2.75.
Aside from BA.2.75 cases, the country also recorded 1,015 additional BA.5 cases which were detected in all regions except in Zamboanga Peninsula and Northern Mindanao, with three OFWs testing positive for this variant.
26 new BA.4 cases have also been detected from NCR, Cagayan Valley, Western Visayas, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Bicol Region, Davao Region, Soccsksargen, Ilocos Region, and the Cordillera Administrative Region, the DOH added.
However, even with the increasing cases for the different variants, the country remains at low risk for COVID-19, while Metro Manila is under moderate risk for the virus.
Tags: #COVID19, #variant, #Omicron