Philippines also monitoring COVID-19 variants from South Africa, Malaysia

The Department of Health said it is monitoring two more variants of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 aside from the rapidly transmissible variant sweeping the United Kingdom.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Philippine authorities are also keeping an eye on the new COVID-19 variants detected in South Africa and in nearby Malaysia.

Based on the analysis of the Philippine Genome Center of 305 samples collected in November and December last year, the variant found in South Africa has not yet been detected in the country.

Vergeire said the three variants are already being monitored because they “reflect signature mutations in the spike region of the virus.”

The DOH confirmed that an overseas Filipino worker in Hong Kong contracted the more contagious variant. It remains unknown where the female worker caught the variant that originated in the UK. Experts said that viruses mutate all the time.

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