MANILA, Aug 8 (Mabuhay) — The Philippine Genome Center (PGC) on Monday confirmed that the current increase in Covid-19 infections is brought about by the Omicron BA.5 subvariant.

In a televised public briefing, PGC Executive Director Cynthia Saloma said about 85 percent of the sequenced samples is composed of Omicron BA.5 subvariant.

“In the past month alone, the BA.5 po talaga ang (is really the) most predominant sample or variant that we are sequencing in the Philippines,” she said.

“Mayroon po tayong konting BA.4 and may mangilan-ngilan na (We have few BA.4 and some) BA.2.1 and very very few of the BA.2.3 which is the predominant one last January. But, all in all, we can probably say that this current wave is really the BA.5 wave,” she added.

BA.5.2 is the most common subvariant of the Omicron BA.5 subvariant detected in the country.

“In the US and in Europe, ang marami po is BA.5. Ang binabantayan lang natin ay kung itong karamihan ng ating BA.5 ay magkakaroon ng mutations (the are many BA.5.1 cases. We’re just monitoring if most of our BA.5 [cases] will have mutations),” she said.

The country sequences about 1,100 to 1,200 cases or samples weekly.

The PGC in Diliman processes 750 samples a week while the PGC in the Visayas sequences 300 specimens a week.

The PGC in Mindanao processes 100 samples a week.

“Mayroon din po sine-sequence sa RITM [Research Institute for Tropical Medicine] pero (There are samples sequenced at the RITM but) I don’t really know the exact number,” Saloma said.

As for the Omicron BA.2.75 subvariant, Saloma said there are no new cases detected other than the two reported earlier.

“’Yung nomenclature na Centaurus ay hindi po galing sa WHO [World Health Organization], galing po ito sa one social media user. So, hindi po siya official nomenclature ng isang (The nomenclature Centaurus is not from the WHO, it is from one social media user. So, it is not an official nomenclature of a) variant of concern,” she added. (MNS)

READ NEXT: Philippines logs 4,701 new COVID-19 cases, active tally hits 37,189