WHO officially names COVID-19 variant first detected in PH as 'Theta'

Published June 1, 2021, 7:09 PM

by Gabriela Baron

The P.3 variant of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) first found in the Philippines, has been named “Theta” by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) announced on Tuesday, June 1.

(ALI VICOY / MANILA BULLETIN)

On Monday, WHO announced that it will be using Greek alphabets to name various COVID-19 variants.

The new system applies to variants of concern (VOC) and variants of interest (VOC).

The P.3 was first detected in the Philippines on January 2021 and remains a VOI.

A VOI is defined as a variant causing transmission, multiple COVID-19 cases/clusters, or has been detected in multiple countries.

Meanwhile, a VOC is identified as a variant causing an increase in transmissibility or detrimental change in COVID-19 epidemiology; increase in virulence or change in clinical disease presentation; or decrease in the effectiveness of public health and social measures or available diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics.

There are currently four VOCs in circulation, UK/B.1.1.7 (Alpha), South Africa/B.1.351 (Beta), Brazil/P.1 (Gamma), and India/B.1.617.2 (Delta).

The WHO’s move came nearly three weeks after India objected to the B.1.617 mutant of COVID-19 being termed as “Indian variant” in media reports.

As of May 29, the country has tallied 162 cases of the P.3 variant.

 
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