Philippine Genome Center: Delta variant made up most of total cases sequenced in July

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 16) — The Delta variant is rapidly surpassing other variants of concern in the country based on cases sequenced so far, the UP-Philippine Genome Center flagged Monday.

“Immediately within July, ang bilis po ng pagtaas ng kaso nitong ating Delta kung [the increase in our Delta cases was so quick in] comparison po to the Beta and Alpha cases," PGC executive director Dr. Cynthia Saloma said in a Palace briefing.

For instance, cases of the highly transmissible variant first discovered in India already made up 42.41% of total cases sequenced by the center nationwide as of July — compared to 3.81% in May and 5.84% in June based on latest data from the organization.

From rates within the 40% level in May and June, the Alpha and Beta variants’ percentages in overall sequences only rest on the 20% level as of July.

Saloma said this is even “more noticeable” in Metro Manila, noting the Delta variant already makes up 68.26% of total sequenced infections from the region last month compared to a 10.54% rate in June.

In a separate briefing, Health Spokesperson Ma. Rosario Vergeire also acknowledged cases of the Delta variant have really been going up in the country.

“All regions except Caraga meron na... Ang Caraga wala pa kaming nade-detect but it doesn't mean they do not have the variant,” said the official, adding they will keep assuming the feared variant is already in Region XIII regardless.

[Translation: All regions except Caraga already have the variant…we still haven’t detected it in Caraga]

Vergeire said the three Delta variant infections in the region were revalidated on Sunday and were found to be returning overseas Filipinos who have not returned to their residence.

Beta most prevalent variant in the country, P.3 variant on the rise

Despite the spread of thr Delta variant, PGC data shows it’s still not the most commonly occurring variant in the country.

The Philippine now has 807 Delta cases, 2,483 cases of the Beta variant first discovered in South Africa and 2,232 cases of the Alpha variant first detected in the United Kingdom.

“Gusto ko ring ibahagi sa inyo na [I also want to share with you that] we are looking at a slight increase in the number of P.3 cases that we have been detecting in our genomic biosurveillance efforts,” Saloma said.

There are currently 347 cases of the Theta variant first discovered in the Philippines, she noted.

To date, the country has over 1.7 million total COVID-19 infections.