Southeast Asia is facing a strain of the new coronavirus that is the Philippines, which faces the region’s largest outbreak.
The new mutation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus called G614 has almost completely replaced the first version named D614, making it the most dominant coronavirus strain circulating worldwide. The mutation affects the spike protein or the structure that the virus uses to get into the cells it infects.
Researchers at the Philippine Genome Center reported last week that the mutated strain of coronavirus was found in a small sample of positive cases taken from Quezon City.
When COVID-19 started spreading in the country last March, the D614G variant of the virus showed up in the samples collected by Filipino genome researchers. However, when a new set of research was started in June, both the D614 and the G614 have been detected in a small sample of positive cases from the most populous city in the country.
“Although this information confirms the presence of G614 in the Philippines, we note that all the samples tested were from Quezon City and may not represent the mutational landscape for the whole country,” it said in a bulletin released on August 13.
The strain, earlier seen in other parts of the world and called D614G, was found in a Malaysian cluster of 45 cases that started from someone who returned from India and breached his 14-day home quarantine. The Philippines detected the strain among random Covid-19 samples in the largest city of its capital region.
In a virtual briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said, The mutation “is said to have a higher possibility of transmission or infectiousness, but we still don’t have enough solid evidence to say that that will happen.”
An international team of researchers reported, A global study has found clear evidence that a new form of the coronavirus has spread from Europe to the US. The new mutation makes the virus more infectious but does not seem to make people any sicker.
The strain has been found in many other countries and has become the predominant variant in Europe and the U.S., with the World Health Organization says there’s no evidence the strain leads to more severe disease. The mutation has also been detected in recent outbreaks in China.