DOH logs 2 new cases of EG.5 Omicron subvariant

By Ma. Teresa Montemayor

August 4, 2023, 6:05 pm

<p><em>(PNA file graphics)</em></p>

(PNA file graphics)

MANILA – The Department of Health (DOH) has detected two more cases of the EG.5 Omicron subvariant of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

In its latest Covid-19 biosurveillance report on Friday, the EG.5 cases were among the 767 samples sequenced by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and the University of the Philippines - Philippine Genome Center Main and Mindanao branches last July 26 to August 1, 2023.

The two new cases of EG.5 subvariant are from the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and the National Capital Region (NCR).

Out of the 767 samples sequenced, about 647 or 84.35 percent were classified as XBB (including 41 XBB.1.5 cases, 181 XBB.1.16 cases, 140 XBB.1.9.1 cases, seven XBB.1.9.2 cases, 228 XBB.2.3 cases); 35 or 4.56 percent as BA.2.3.20; 15 or 1.96 percent as BA.5; two or 0.26 percent as XBC; one or 0.13 percent as CH.1.1; and three or 0.39 percent as other Omicron sublineages.

"Of the detected XBB subvariant cases, two were Returning Overseas Filipinos while the rest were local cases from all regions except Western Visayas," the DOH said.

"Recently detected BA.2.3.20 cases were all local cases from Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Bicol Region, Zamboanga Peninsula, Soccsksargen, CAR, and Caraga while BA.5 cases were from Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol Region, and Soccsksargen."

Meanwhile, the two XBC cases were from Soccsksargen and the lone CH.1.1 case was from the NCR.

The EG.5 subvariant is an XBB.1.9.2 sublineage that was recently added to the list of variants under monitoring by the World Health Organization last July 19.

It was initially flagged due to its increasing global prevalence. It has been detected in 44 countries or jurisdictions across six continents based on sequence submissions in the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data.

While current available evidence for EG.5 does not suggest any differences in disease severity or clinical manifestations, the DOH recommends the public to continue adhering to layers of protection such as wearing face masks, isolating when sick, and ensuring good airflow.

It also encourages the public to get vaccinated and boosted to further strengthen everyone's wall of immunity against Covid-19 and new sub variants.

As of Aug. 3, the country has logged 4,173,477 Covid-19 cases, 4,102,891 recoveries and 66,622 deaths. (PNA)