Home  >  News
Philippines yet to detect new COVID-19 variant 'Mu': genome center
Posted at Sep 03 2021 02:31 PM
Pasay residents wait in line to enter the Philippine School for the Deaf in Pasay City to receive cash assistance amid the ongoing modified enhanced community quarantine on Sept. 2, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
MANILA — The Philippines has not yet detected any case of the new coronavirus variant known as "Mu" that was first identified in Colombia, the genome center said on Friday. 
The World Health Organization has classified Mu as a "variant of interest." It has mutations that indicate a risk of resistance to vaccines and further studies are needed to better understand it, the global health body said on Tuesday. 
WHO monitoring new coronavirus variant named 'Mu'
"We have not yet detected the Mu variant here in the Philippines," said Philippine Genome Center executive director Dr. Cynthia Saloma, adding that experts looked into the genetic makeup of some 12,000 local coronavirus samples. 
"Pero we are always on standby and we are continuing our monitoring of the entry of these variants in our borders," she said in a televised briefing. 
She said Mu, known scientifically as B.1.621, should not be a cause for alarm yet. 
"‘Yong mutation and the emergence of variants, natural po ‘yan sa evolution ng isang virus," Saloma said. "Itong mga mutations na ito na ito does not necessarily mean na magiging severe siya o mag-stay on siya."
(Mutation and the emergence of variants are natural in the evolution of a birus. These mutations do not necessarily mean that the disease would be severe or would stay on.)
Vaccination and health standards "are still our best defense" against variants, she added.
The WHO currently identifies four Covid-19 variants of concern, including Alpha, which is present in 193 countries, and Delta, present in 170 countries.
Five variants, including Mu, are to be monitored.
After being detected in Colombia, Mu has since been reported in other South American countries and in Europe.
The WHO said its global prevalence has declined to below 0.1 percent among sequenced cases. In Colombia, however, it is at 39 percent.
Watch more News on iWantTFC
The Philippines has topped 2 million coronavirus cases with a record surge in infections that the World Health Organization confirmed is being driven by the more contagious Delta strain.
WHO: Delta variant 'dominant' na sa Pilipinas
Govt urged: Buy COVID vaccines that are more effective vs Delta variant
The second-strictest restrictions in Metro Manila and nearby provinces has been extended until Sept. 7 as authorities battle to slow the spread of the virus.
WHO representative in the Philippines Rabindra Abeyasinghe said the latest lockdown, accelerating vaccination rate and increased hospital bed capacity had so far prevented "a complete overwhelming" of the country's healthcare system.
But healthcare groups complain there is a serious shortage of workers to look after the increased number of patients after many resigned.
They have been staging protests outside hospitals to demand higher pay, the release of financial benefits, and the hiring of more staff. 
As COVID-19 cases top 2 million, Duterte lauds Duque, health workers for recoveries
— With a report from Agence France-Presse 
Read More:  COVID   COVID-19   coronavirus   COVID19. COVID Philippines   COVID surge   COVID updates  COVID latest Philippines   COVID variant   Mu variant  
© 2022 ABS-CBN Corporation. All Rights Reserved.