DOH detects Omicron subvariant BA.2 in PH, says its predominant in most regions

Published January 25, 2022, 2:36 PM

by Dhel Nazario

The Department of Health (DOH) reported on Tuesday, Jan. 25 that the Omicron sub-lineage BA.2 also known as “stealth Omicron” has been detected in the country.

Omicron variant of COVID-19

In a press briefing, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire shared that the globally-prevalent BA.1 was also detected. She mentioned however that no significant difference has been seen in the clinical presentation of the two.

Based on the data presented by DOH, BA.2 has been detected in at least 49 countries and 17 US states.

In the country, BA.1 has been detected in only eight regions and is predominant in Region 5 among Returning Overseas Filipinos, according to DOH while BA.2 was predominant in most regions.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said on Monday, Jan. 24. that the Omicron subvariant BA.2, is no different from the currently dominant Omicron variant BA.1 based on initial studies, He mentioned that BA.2 or “stealth Omicron” is currently categorized as a variant under investigation (VUI), not yet a variant of concern.

He said that the country’s Epidemiology Bureau is coordinating with representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO) while the country office is providing the latest data regarding the characteristics of the new variant.

He mentioned that COVID-19 vaccines continue to be effective against severe and critical cases, therefore preventing hospitalizations and deaths.

“Iyong International Health Regulation, tayo ay nakikipag-ugnayan sa kanila. Sila iyong sangay ng WHO na nagbibigay patungkol sa mga bagong variants, bagong mga viruses. So, ginagabayan nila tayo (We are coordination with International Health Reguilation. They are the branch WHO that provides updates on new variants and viruses. They are guiding us),” Duque said.