Alpha, Beta may be dominant COVID-19 variants in Baguio – Mayor

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A total of 121 Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) variants of concern has been confirmed by the Department of Health through the UP-Philippine Genome Center with 19 new cases in Baguio City as of August 2, 2021.

Of the 121 variants of concern, 84 were sequenced as B.1.1.7 or Alpha which was first detected in the United Kingdom while 37 were of the B.1.351 or Beta which was first detected in South Africa.

Six deaths were already recorded among the 121 variants of concern while 115 have recovered according to City Health Services Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo.

However, Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong surmised that alpha and beta may now be the dominant COVID-19 variants transmitted in Baguio City considering scientific evidences on the transmissibility of mutated variants.

“The 121 variants are the official declaration of the PGC but considering how long it takes to sequence those samples, we can say that we already have a thousand of alpha and beta cases in the locality for the past three or four months,” Magalong said.

In one of the cases, a husband and wife tested alpha while the other tested for beta. The mayor surmised a marginal error in the genome sequencing but Dr. Raul Destura of the PGC was quick to defend that there is zero possibility of error since the processing is being done a thousand times per batch.

Another case in Baguio was a mother and a daughter having the alpha and beta variants. They both claimed they had no travel history.

“It is safe to conclude that alpha and beta are now the dominant variants in Baguio. A family member may have brought home the virus through local transmission. Iyan lang 121 ang nakikita dahil yan lang ang dumaan sa PGC genome sequencing pero ang dominant na dito sa atin ay alpha at beta,” Magalong said.

While Baguio has zero case of the delta variant which was first detected in India, Magalong is asking for the cooperation of the public in adhering to the minimum public health standards to protect themselves against the more transmissible COVID-19 variants.

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