The Philippine Genome Center PHOTO

Local chief executives (LCEs) in Western Visayas urged the national government to establish a genome sequencing unit in the region as more Delta variants cases are reported.

A petition signed by five of the six provincial governors of the region and the mayors of Bacolod and Iloilo cities asked the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to equip the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) at the University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV) in Miag-ao, Iloilo, to do genome sequencing.

“Considering the report of confirmed Covid-19 Delta variant infected individuals in [the region], there is a critical need for prompt recognition of the variants circulating in the community to allow proper planning and intervention measures to avoid a further surge in cases,” the petition said.

The LCEs also asked for more equipment and genome sequencing for the West Visayas State University Medical Center (WVSUMC), one of the region’s major Covid facilities.

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas planned to write to the National Inter-Agency Task Force as early as May to use the WVSUMC, as a Sub-National Laboratory, for genome sequencing.

As of writing, the Department of Health in Western Visayas confirmed four new delta variant causes in the region, one each from Iloilo City and Pandan, Antique, and two from the Province of Iloilo. Ryan Sorote