VERA FILES FACT SHEET: Amid new COVID-19 virus variants, here’s how the Philippines can prevent another surge

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

On the Indian variant

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.)