May 18, 2024

The Department of Health has detected the first 10 cases of the EG.5 Omicron subvariant of the Covid-19.

In its latest Covid-19 biosurveillance report released on July 27, the EG.5 cases were among the 160 samples sequenced by the Baguio General Hospital Medical Center and the University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center Main and its offices in Visayas and Mindanao, released last July 14 to 25.

The EG.5 variant 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.

“The variant was initially flagged due to its increasing global prevalence and has been detected in 44 countries or jurisdictions across six continents, according to sequence submissions in GISAID (Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data),” the DOH said.

“However, currently available evidence for EG.5 does not suggest any differences in disease severity and/or clinical manifestations compared to the original Omicron variant.”

It added that limited information is available for the variant as researchers are currently characterizing it in terms of transmissibility, immune evasion, and ability to cause more severe disease.

Out of the 160 samples, about 146 or 91.25 percent were classified as XBB including the XBB.1.5, XBB.1.16, XBB.1.9.1, and XBB 1.9.2 cases.

All detected XBB subvariants were local cases from Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Region 4-A (Calabarzon), Bicol Region, Western Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Davao Region, Cordillera, Caraga, and the National Capital Region. – PNA