MANILA, Aug 4 (Mabuhay) — The country could go through an extended period of COVID-19 surge because of the overlap of transmissible Omicron subvariants, an infectious diseases specialist said on Wednesday.
Dr. Rontgene Solante said the combination of subvariant BA.2.75 and variant BA.5 may evade antibodies or vaccines. He added that BA.2.75 could either be as transmissible or more transmissible than BA.5
Solante said BA.2.75 could only be deemed more transmissible if the surge in cases continues in two weeks.
“We don’t know that yet unless we will be able to experience it, if we will be having increases or spikes in cases just like what we are experiencing now with BA.5,” Solante said.
Health officials reported the first two BA.2.75 subvariant cases from Western Visayas on Aug. 2. Both cases recovered.
Most samples checked for variants in June and July were identified as BA.5.
On Tuesday, DOH reported 1,015 new BA.5 cases — bringing the total to 3,012 since the first case was reported on June 3. This subvariant was detected in most regions.
Health Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said the figure was based on the limited samples sent to laboratories by regional health offices.
“Even in vaccinated population of 70% already, yet you are getting a lot of breakthrough infection, then that’s how bad the virus is. More infections, more breakthrough infections, or even re-infections. This is the concern now on this Omicron variant,” Solante said.
He said there is much to learn about the impact of BA.2.75 on a person’s health.
Solante noted the importance of observing health protocols to prevent COVID-19 infection like getting up-to-date vaccines, wearing of face mask, handwashing and physical distancing.
Health officials have yet to release details about the status, travel history, exposure and possible close contacts of the two BA.2.75 cases (MNS)