The Department of Health said Tuesday it detected the "stealth" lineage of the coronavirus omicron variant locally and is studying how it would affect the spread of the disease in the country.
"Stealth omicron" or BA.2 is so named because it is not as easily detectable in RT-PCR tests compared to the original lineage, BA.1, according to The Guardian. In the UK, it is considered a variant under investigation as scientists check whether it is more easily transmissible.
"Walang nakitang significant difference sa clinical presentation ang BA.1 at BA.2 at kinakailangan pa rin po ng masusing pag-aaral dahil limitado pa rin naman ang ating mga obserbasyon na ating nakukuha dito," Health Usec. Rosario Vergeire said.
Stealth omicron is predominant in most regions in the country, said Vergeire. It has also been detected in at least 49 countries and 17 U.S. states. The original omicron lineage has been detected in eight regions and is the predominant type in Bicol and among returning overseas Filipinos, she said.
Omicron recently overtook delta as the predominant variant in Metro Manila and other parts of the Philippines, she said. It now accounts for 98.9% of all positive samples that were analyzed, compared to 1.3% in November.
Unlike Delta, most of the cases due to Omicron caused no symptoms to moderate symptoms, which can be treated at home, she said.
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