MANILA – None of the emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants is dominant in the Philippines yet, an official of the Philippine Genome Center said Thursday.

"Ang mga variants of concern ay hindi pa dominant sa bansa, hindi pa po dominant (The existing variants of concern are not yet dominant in the country)," said PCG Health Program director, Dr. Eva Cutiongco-dela Paz, in a Laging Handa briefing.

As of March 5, the country has logged about 118 cases infected with the B.1.1.7 or the UK variant and 58 with B.1.351 or the South African variant.

From over 3,000 genome sequences conducted since January this year, Cutiongco-dela Paz said the "most frequently observed" was not a variant but a lineage called B.1.1.63 or the Hong Kong lineage, comprising about 24 percent of the total samples it collected.

She, however, said it is inconclusive yet whether this is attributable to the continuing spike of Covid-19 cases in the country.

"Kailangan pang mas pag-aralan ang mga bagay na ito at makapag-sequence pa ng mga virus sa samples na galing sa mga lugar na may spike or clustering of cases sa iba't ibang parte ng bansa (We still need to study this further and sequence more virus from samples coming from areas with clustering of cases)," she said.

Despite the emergence of the two variants, the PGC has not detected a Brazilian P.1 variant yet, she added.

"Wala pa ito sa bansa, ang Brazil lineage po ang mayroon tayo. Magkaiba po ang lineage sa variant (We don't have this in the country yet, the one we've detected is the Brazil lineage. Lineage is different from a variant)," she said.

As cases continue to rise, she advised the public to continue following the minimum health protocols set by the government to prevent the virus from further spreading and mutating.

"Kapag pinababa natin ang mga kaso, bababa rin ang tsansa ng virus na mag-mutate (Once we lower the number of cases, the chances of the virus mutating also decreases)," she said.

Recent data shows a significant increase in the number of Covid-19 cases particularly in the National Capital Region.

As of March 10, the Department of Health has recorded 2,886 new cases, higher than the previous day's 2,668 new infections. (PNA)