Home Immunity New sub-variants struggle to break through the ‘immunity wall’: OCTA

New sub-variants struggle to break through the ‘immunity wall’: OCTA

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People exit the church in Quiapo after hearing mass on Friday, March 11, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — COVID-19 cases in the Philippines are not expected to exceed 10,000 new infections per day, independent research group OCTA said Monday.

According to Professor Guido David, the new omicron subvariants are struggling to break through the country’s “immunity wall”.

The country has so far detected 17 cases of BA.2.12.1, a sublineage of the dominant BA.2, and one case of the more transmissible BA.4.

“The BA.4 nakita natin in Africa, tumaas ang kaso up to 10,000 a day. Sa tingin natin, ‘di naman tayo lalagpas ng 10,000. Of course 2 na sila ngayong binabantayan natin,” he said said during a televised briefing.

(BA.4 in Africa has caused an increase in cases of up to 10,000 per day. We don’t expect to exceed 10,000. Of course, we are currently monitoring 2 variants.)

“Sana naman ‘di ganun kataas ang cases na makikita natin. So far nakikita natin nahihirapan makalusot itong variants sa ating immunity wall.”

(We hope that the increase in cases does not reach this level. So far, we can see that these variants are struggling to break through our immunity wall.)

The Philippines has so far fully vaccinated 68.6 million people, of whom 13.7 million received their first booster as of May 16, according to the health ministry. The government has started giving a second booster shot to elderly, immunocompromised people and health workers.

The slight increase in virus cases over the past three days could be due to the subvariants and not the election, David said.

“Maaaring effect on new sub-variant… ‘Young election, more than 2 weeks ago na. No more new case increases, maliit in new variant, possibly related to new variant’ , did he declare.

(This could be an effect of the new subvariant… The election already took place more than two weeks ago. These increases in cases are still small and could be related to the new variant.)

Some areas of Metro Manila have seen an increase in infections, with the reproduction number in the capital region rising to 1.05, David said.

“Maliit palang naman ito. We are still at low risk of using kasi mababa pa hospital, mababa (low) positivity rate of 1.2%,” he said.

An increase in cases has also been seen in southern Cotabato, Agusan del Norte and Palawan, David said. These areas remain at low risk and the increase in the number of patients infected with the virus is not alarming, he added.

It is important that the public get vaccinated and boosted, and meet minimum health standards, according to David. A border restriction is not recommended at this time, he said.

Video courtesy of PTV