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‘Don’t panic over Delta subvariant’

Salvana said that the AY 4.2 subvariant is not yet classified as a variant of concern

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The public should not worry about the new subvariant of the highly transmissible Delta strain of Covid-19 which has been detected in some European countries, an infectious disease expert said Thursday.

“There is a need to study it but there’s no need to panic,” said Dr. Edsel Salvana of the Department of Health (DoH) Technical Advisory Group in a radio interview.

Salvana said that the AY 4.2 subvariant detected in Europe, Israel and recently in the United States is not yet classified as a variant of concern.

“It is not yet considered as a formal variant. It’s just like Delta. We first need to monitor it before we can say that it is a variant of concern,” he said.

However, he noted that based on the initial investigation about the subvariant, it is transmissible but further studies are needed to support the claim it is more transmissible than Delta.

“There is no strong evidence yet. They just see a slight increase but not to the level of Delta,” he added.

Salvana urged the public to continue adhering to the minimum public health standards and get vaccinated to prevent the further spread of the other variant.

“We will study this and of course we will always be vigilant. We’ll track if there are variants entering the Philippines,” he said.

“Right now, the Delta variant is still our problem. Delta is the deadliest and the most transmissible,” he added.

On Monday, the country logged additional 633 new cases of the Delta variant out of the 748 samples tested on 16 October.

Data from the DoH showed that the Delta variant remained to be the most dominant in the country at 4,431 or 29.2 percent of the total sequenced samples.

The DoH said that it has not yet detected the AY.4.2 sub-lineage.

“The particular Delta sub-lineage has not yet been detected among the Covid-19 positive samples sequenced in the country,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire said.

“While this is being investigated, we emphasize that regardless of the variant, all Covid-19 cases should be managed similarly and as per current protocols. Each case must be immediately isolated and contact traced upon detection,” she added.

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