As part of its role to conduct genomic biosurveillance, the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) said that it will check samples from early November with the threat of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“So far we have already done 18,000 whole genome sequences and binalikan po natin yung ating database wala pa po tayong nakita ni isang Omicron (we checked our database and theres not a single trace of Omicron),” PGC Executive Director Cynthia Saloma told the President during his meeting with health experts and Cabinet officials on Monday evening.
Saloma said that they need backtrack samples from early November as well as other samples arriving in the Philippines. This also includes positive samples from the airport and from different places in the country so that they can conduct more intense sequence, Saloma explained.
She also announced the PGC’s genomic biosurveillance capability will reach Visayas and Mindanao “probably” by next month through the help of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Department of Health (DOH).
Saloma shared that the genomic biosurveillance started on December 26, 2020 and through the equipment and personnel put in place, the country was able to detect the presence of the Alpha variant.
“Ngayon po kailangan naman natin idetect tong (Now we have detect this) Omicron (variant) if ever it has entered the country,” she said.