No XBB.1.5 Omicron subvariant case in Central Visayas

A DEPARTMENT of Health-Central Visayas (DOH 7) official said there are no confirmed cases yet of Covid-19 XBB.1.5 Omicron subvariant in the region.

DOH 7 Program Manager of Emerging and Re-Emerging Infectious Diseases Dr. Van Philip Baton said in a “Kapihan sa PIA” session on Wednesday, January 25, 2023, that XBB.1.5 is the latest subvariant of the Omicron variant of Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

"Naa na tay XBB (subvariant) sa Philippines ug naa na tay number of cases but so far, wala pa ta kita anang subvariant no, speaking for the regional office also. So wala pa ta nakita nga ing-ana nga cases diri sa region," Baton said.

(We have XBB cases in the Philippines, but Central Visayas has no confirmed case of such subvariant yet.)

He said the XBB.1.5 subvariant is still considered a “variant of interest,” while the Omicron is considered a “variant of concern.”

According to World Health Organization, a variant of concern “translates to a rise in transmissibility, an increase in fatality and a significant decrease in effectiveness of vaccines, therapy and other health measures,” while a variant of interest is a “variant with a genetic capability that affects characteristics of the virus such as disease severity, immune escape, transmissibility and diagnostic escape.”

WHP also confirmed that a variant of interest “causes a consequential volume of community transmission.”

With this, Baton said variants of concern affect policy making in handling an infectious disease, while the variant of interest influences the transmission and diagnostic of a certain virus.

"Is still more or less the same symptoms, wala ta nakita nga increase in deaths, but nakita nato ang impact in terms of symptoms among vaccinated and unvaccinated, although naay mga certain instances nga naay re-infection, meaning katung na-Covid karon kay matakdan gihapon because bag-o ang variant ug naa tay nakita nga breakthrough infection katong mga bakunado na pero masakit gihapon kay atong nakita nga milder gihapon ang symptoms sa katong mga vaccinated compared sa unvaccinated," Baton added. (EHP)