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More Contagious, Dominant Strain of Novel Coronavirus Detected in the Philippines

Expert says it probably caused the surge of infections in July.

Ann Moises

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  • The Philippine Genome Center confirms finding the G614 strain in SARS2-CoV-2 samples taken from patients in Quezon City.
  • This mutated strain is presumably more dominant and more contagious.
  • An infectious disease expert reckoned that the spike of infections in July probably resulted from this strain.

Experts at the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) found a mutated strain of SARS2-CoV-2 in the Philippines. The D614G or G614 strain is more dominant and contagious than the first strain–the D614.

The transmuted virus was found in a small sample taken from patients with Covid-19 in Quezon City. PGC confirmed this finding in their first SARS2-CoV-2 bulletin published on August 13.

In July, Filipino genome researchers detected both the D614 and the G614 strains in collected samples from Covid-19 patients .

Together with the observation that G614 is now the dominant viral state, the authors claim that the said mutation can increase the viral rate of transmission,” the PGC declared.

According to their journal, “Although this information confirms the presence of G614 in the Philippines, we note that all the samples tested were from Quezon City and may not represent the mutational landscape for the whole country.”

A team of international researchers noted only the D614 strain was found in the initial outbreak in China.

One of its 14 mutations — the G614 –primarily appeared in Europe, according to Medical Xpress.

Subsequently, the G614 strain began to emerge in samples from other countries worldwide.

The G614 seemed to replace the first strain and can multiply faster in the upper respiratory tract, thus, it could spread more easily.

Experts suggest that this new strain is behind the pandemic.

Dr. Edsel Salvana, an infectious disease expert, presumes that the spike of infections in July was due to the said new variant. However, at that time, it has probably not yet been detected in the country.

He commented, “The D614G mutation makes the virus more infectious. It can spread faster and overwhelm our healthcare system if we don’t double our control efforts, and so it can lead to a higher number of overall deaths.”

Despite these findings, however, The PGC said “there is still no definitive evidence” that patients with the G614 variant are more contagious. “The mutation does not appear to substantially affect clinical outcomes as well,” they said.

In conclusion, they said, “Nevertheless, considering the presently wide geographic spread of G614, continuous monitoring of the said mutation… must be done in order to better understand the evolutionary trajectory of SARS-CoV-2 to inform containment, diagnostic, and therapeutic strategies.”

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