CEBU CITY – The Department of Health-Central Visayas (DOH Region 7) announced Thursday the presence of two possible mutations or variants of SARS-CoV-2 in Cebu.
Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, spokesperson of DOH 7, said the possible mutations could be the reason for the increase of COVID-19 cases in Metro Cebu.
Loreche said results from the Philippine Genomic Center (PGC) showed two new mutations from the 60 samples sent to the facility.
She said out of the 70 samples sent, only 59 were qualified for testing at the PGC while at least 37 samples showed the presence of “possible” two new variants.
“These possible variants are not yet named and are called variants under investigation or variant of concern, or variant of interest,” said Loreche.
The DOH 7 tagged these mutations as E484K and N501Y.
“It is very possible that we have our own (variant) and it is not from other countries,” Loreche added.
Dr. Jaime Bernadas, DOH 7 director, said further surveillance, epidemiological investigations, and genomic sequencing are still needed to properly establish the nature of the mutated virus.
“As of this point, we already did the necessary containment measures to prevent rapid spread and transmission, and the patients (infected with the mutations) have since recovered,” Bernadas said.