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COVID-19: Mauritius variant detected in the Philippines

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The patient had travelled to the UAE. Photo Credit: The Philippine Star

One case of B.1.1.318, the new variant first reported in Mauritius in June, has been detected in the Philippines, the country’s Department of Health (DOH) has announced.

The case is a 34-year-old male whose sample was taken last March 10 from the Philippine Red Cross laboratory.

“He has history of travel in the United Arab Emirates and he arrived in the Philippines on March 5. His date of recovery is March 21,” DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire was quoted as telling local newspaper, The Philippine Star.

According to Vergeire, the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) had found the B.1.1.318 case from the 746 swab samples that were sequenced on Oct. 22.

These specimens were collected in March, April, September and October as part of the “retrospective” sampling being done to trace the beginning of Delta variant in the country.

According to Vergeire, the Delta sub-variant or B.1.1.318 was designated by the World Health Organization as a “variant under monitoring” last June 2.

It was initially detected in Mauritius in a cluster of 120 COVID-19 cases. It has 14 mutations in its spike regions, which were also seen in both Delta and Beta variants.

The WHO and other international experts are studying the impact of the variant on the transmission of COVID-19 and the efficacy of vaccines against it.

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