DOH employs ‘active surveillance’ to detect other Covid-19 subvariants

The Department of Health (DOH) now employs “active surveillance” system to detect other Omicron subvariants and their further transmission in the country.

DOH confirmed Tuesday the local transmission of Omicron BA.2.12.1 subvariant and three new cases of it were detected in Western Visayas.

“We need to continue this active surveillance and monitoring system to see other subvariants and) further transmission of these subvariants,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online media forum.

So far, the Philippines has recorded a total of 17 Omicron BA.2.12.1 cases. Of the tally, 16 are local cases and one is a returning overseas Filipino.

“So we have recommended to our implementing units that the preference for us right now for laboratory tests would be RT-PCR because its only RT PCR that we can perform for genome sequencing,” Vergeire said.

Meanwhile, Dr. Eva Maria Cutiongco-dela Paz, executive director of the University of the Philippines Manila – National Institutes of Health, urged those with symptoms to submit themselves to RT-PCR testing instead of antigen testing.

“Antigen testing results are not reported because it’s done at home and our fellowmen simply self-isolate when they test positive,” she explained.

Dr. Dela Paz pointed out that the Philippines has more than 300 laboratories offering reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests and four laboratories performing whole genome sequencing.