Forty-four new cases of omicron subvariants of the Covid-19 virus were detected, the Department of Health (DOH) reported.
This was based on the results of the recent genome sequencing done by the University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC). The positive samples were processed last Jan. 18, the DOH said.
Of the 44 cases, 19 were tagged as BA.2.3.20, one case was BN.1, which was reported under BA.2.75; four were BA.5, including a case of BQ.1; and eight were classified as XBB. The 12 other cases were tagged as other omicron subvariants.
All BA.2.3.20 cases were local cases from Ilocos Region, Central Luzon, and Calabarzon. The new XBB cases were from Ilocos Region, Central Luzon, Zamboanga Peninsula, and National Capital Region.
The recently detected BN.1 case was a returning overseas Filipino (ROF), the DOH said.
Of the four new BA.5 cases, three were local cases from Central Luzon and Cordillera Administrative Region, and the remaining case was an ROF.
"After the observed increase in the number and proportion of the BA.5 sublineage of Omicron since July 2022, the different Omicron subvariants under monitoring flagged by the World Health Organization (WHO) (ie. BA.2.3.20, XBB) have been on a continuous uptrend starting September 2022," the DOH noted.
"From the month of December onwards, the BA.2.3.20 subvariant was the most detected variant, comprising 45.56 percent of samples sequenced with assigned lineages, followed by the XBB subvariant (31.39 percent)," it added.