THE Department of Health yesterday said no AY.4.2 sublineage of the COVID-19 Delta variant has been detected in the country yet.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire said biosurveillance activities of the country has been closely monitoring 46 sub lineages of the Delta variant, and so far had not detected the said sublineage.
“As of this moment, experts are still studying the potential impact of the Delta sublineage on the transmissibility and severity of COVID-19. The particular Delta sublineage has not yet been detected among the COVID-19 positive samples sequenced in the country. While this is being investigated, we emphasize that regardless of the variant, all COVID-19 cases should be managed similarly and as per current protocols. Each case must be immediately isolated and contact traced upon detection. Current evidence also showed that the presence or absence of a variant of interest or concern among cases does not dictate the appropriate clinical management. We should always remain vigilant against COVID-19, more so that we are safely reopening our economy,” she said.
The statement came following the reports on the increase of sublineage AY.4.2 in the United Kingdom and its detection in other countries outside the UK.
Vergeire explained that mutations occur as part of the natural process of virus evolution, at the same time reminding the public that, while variants may contribute to increase or aggravate COVID-19 cases, strict and proper adherence to the minimum public health standards reduces the risk of getting exposed to COVID-19.
She stressed that the general adult population should immediately get vaccinated to get additional protection against COVID-19.
“Our proper adherence to the minimum public health standards is still our best protection and is the best way to curb the transmission, prevent the spread of the variants, and slow down the appearance of mutations. Proper wearing of face mask and face shield, frequent hand washing or sanitizing, avoiding crowded places and observing physical distancing, and ensuring there is proper ventilation in our homes, workplaces, and public transportation are non-pharmaceutical interventions that all of us can do to ensure that we and everyone around us are safe. Getting fully-vaccinated is also another layer of protection that can help us from getting severe COVID-19,” the DOH official said.
The new sublineage, also called “Delta Plus” and first identified last July, is now being investigated in the U.K. There are worries that it could make the virus yet more transmissible, and could undermine COVID-19 vaccines further.