The Philippines logged two cases of Omicron subvariant BN.1, the Department of Health (DOH) said.
The DOH’s latest genome sequencing from December 19 to 22 showed that only two BN.1 cases have been detected in the country, and both are under Omicron BA.2.75.
The DOH said citing the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) that BN.1, a sublineage of BA.2.75, is a “variant under monitoring” due to its increasing prevalence in the world.
“The variant was initially flagged by the researchers due to its increasing prevalence and mutations that may lead to enhanced immune evasion. However, currently available evidence for BN.1 does not suggest any differences in disease severity and/or clinical manifestations compared to the original Omicron variant,” the DOH said.
“Currently, the subvariant is still reported under BA.2.75 by the World Health Organization (WHO) and will remain classified under Omicron until sufficient evidence arises showing that the virus characteristics are significantly different from Omicron,” it added.
Meanwhile, the DOH said in a separate statement that both infections have now been declared as recovered.
“To date, there are two detected cases of BN.1 in the Philippines. The first BN.1 case, whose sample was collected in October 2022, was a returning overseas Filipino coming from Kuwait. The second BN.1 case was a local case, with the specimen collected last November 2022. Both cases have now been tagged as recovered,” the department said.
— Ronald Espartinez