BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III
An additional 70 specimen samples from molecular laboratories in Bacolod City have been submitted to the Philippine Genome Center for detection of Covid variants, Dr. Chris Sorongon, deputy of the Emergency Operations Center, said yesterday.
Sorongon said the specimens that were collected since August 10 were on top of the 166 samples gathered from July 9 to August 9 and earlier subjected to genome sequencing by the PGC, with some of the results still pending.
He said that, so far, Bacolod logged four confirmed Delta and five Theta variants while the number of individuals infected by the Alpha and the Beta variants has yet to be determined.
Sorongon said it usually takes four weeks before the PGC could release the results of the genome sequencing on the specimens, adding that there are criteria required before specimens are submitted.
Under the PGC guidelines, before the specimens are subjected for sequencing for the determination of the variants, the samples should come from active cases within the 14-day period, and individuals who tested positive for Covid, and whose specimens were taken, should come from an area where a spike of cases had been noted.
But Sorongon stressed that whatever variants are present, vaccination and minimum health protocols are still the best way to be protected.
In fact, out of 402 Covid-related deaths in Bacolod, 297 or about 73.9 percent were unvaccinated, he said.
Sorongon noted that most of those who were hospitalized for Covid have been inoculated, while those who have been infected despite receiving jabs have comorbidities, although many showed mild or no symptoms at all.
“We have to be alarmed over the presence of the variants in our midst but there is no need to panic so long as you have been vaccinated and following minimum health protocols,” Sorongon added.
Sorongon explained that the Covid variants differ in degrees of effect, transmissibility, infectiousness, sectors, and age brackets that could likely be infected.
He said it is the normal characteristic of the virus to mutate once it is already in the human system as it is their way to survive. He said thousands of mutations of Covid-19 occur every day.*