The novel coronavirus has changed more than 10,000 times since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Most mutations, or changes in the virus, have little to no effect. Others, however, bring rise to variants of concern (VOCs) — or versions of the virus carrying mutations that can cause an increase in transmission, more severe disease, or a reduced efficacy of treatments and vaccines. (See VERA FILES FACT SHEET: How the Philippines is detecting new SARS-CoV-2 variants)
The Philippine Genome Center at the University of the Philippines has detected three VOCs in the country that were first identified in Brazil, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.
A fourth one was added this month: the B.1.617 variant, first identified in India in October 2020.
Should Filipinos be overly concerned with this new finding? Find out in this video how this development affects the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in the Philippines.
World Health Organization, COVID-19 Weekly Epidemiological Update, May 9, 2021
RTVMalacanang, Part 2 Meeting on COVID-19 Concerns and Talk to the People on COVID-19 5/17/2021, May 18, 2021
Department of Health confirms cases with variant first identified in India
- ABS-CBN News, DOH detects 10 more cases of India’s COVID-19 variant in PH, May 15, 2021
- Inquirer.net, 10 more India variant cases detected in PH, May 16, 2021
- Rappler, 10 more cases of COVID-19 Indian variant found in the Philippines, May 15, 2021
On the Indian variant
- Al Jazeera, Is a double mutant COVID variant behind India’s record surge?, April 19, 2021
- BBC, India Covid: Government says new variant linked to surge, May 9, 2021
- World Health Organization, India: WHO Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Dashboard With Vaccination Data | WHO Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard With Vaccination Data
- Department of Health, DOH Beat COVID-19 Special Presser, May 11, 2021
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, SARS-CoV-2 Variant Classifications and Definitions, May 17, 2021
- The New York Times, Coronavirus Variant Tracker
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Update on Emerging SARS-CoV-2 Variants and Vaccine Considerations, May 12, 2021
- bioRXiv, SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617 emergence and sensitivity to vaccine-elicited antibodies, May 18, 2021
- Financial Times, Two vaccine doses needed for strong protection against variant found in India, data show, May 22, 2021
- Reuters, mRNA vaccines appear effective vs India variant; people with HIV at higher risk for severe COVID-19, May 13, 2021
- The Straits Times, Pfizer, Moderna vaccines effective against variants first detected in India: Study, May 18, 2021
- Nature, COVID vaccines can block variant hitting Asia, lab study finds, May 17, 2021
Philippine Television Network, WATCH: Press briefing with Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, April 26, 2021
World Health Organization, Philippines receives additional vaccines through COVAX facility – Philippines, May 11, 2021
National Task Force Against COVID-19 Facebook Page, May 22, 2021
(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)