Genome Center clears NorMin’s 854 samples

By : Mindanao Today/11:43:04am 01/13/2022


By Uriel Quilinguing

Contributing Editor

ALL 854 specimens which various molecular laboratories in Northern Mindanao sent last year to the Philippine Genome Center had been discarded, an official of the Department of Health Region 10 said recently.

Jasper Kent Ola, a senior development management officer of DOH-10, said variants of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV2) were not detected on last year’s remaining samples.

Ola, heads of the DOH-10 Regional Epidemiology Surveillance and Disaster Response Unit (Resdru) since the Covid-19 pandemic began, said they (molecular laboratories) sent a total of 1,460 specimens to the PGC last year.

The University of the Philippines-based PGH in Quezon City detected 11 variants of interest through genome sequencing process from the samples, aside from those tagged to the region from specimens swabbed upon arrival of returning overseas Filipinos (ROF) in Metro Manila.

Dr. Stephanie Grace Zamora, cluster head of DOH-10 Resdru, announced in a virtual Covid-19 Update last Friday, that the PGC has tagged two cases of highly infectious Covid-19 Omicron variant to Northern Mindanao.

Zamora said the first case is a 40-year-old seaman from Iligan, who arrived at Mactan airport, Cebu from Kenya last Dec. 16, and was quarantined until Dec. 30. Tested positive for Covid-19 Omicron variant, the patient already negative and was cleared from infection and mild symptoms. He came home in Iligan last Dec. 30 via Laguindingan airport, Misamis Oriental.

The Resdru cluster head said the other case of Covid-19 Omicron variant is a 20-year old female college student who arrived Dec. 22 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Pasay City from Las Vegas, USA.

A native of Cagayan de Oro, the returning overseas Filipina has been isolated upon arrival until Dec. 31 and has already recovered from Covid-19 Omicron variant’s fever and cough symptoms. She has yielded negative RT-PCR test result but remained in isolation, awaiting re-swabbing, as of this writing.

Zamora said the overseas worker from Iligan is unvaccinated while the 20-year-old Cagayanon has been fully vaccinated, including a Pfizer booster vaccine.

Meanwhile, Ola said they (molecular laboratories) will resume sending samples (to the PGH) next week since an uptrend of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) infections after the Christmas and New Year’s revelries has been observed.

He said the testing laboratories determine which swabbed specimens they processed through the Reverse Transcriptase-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) tests should be subjected to genome sequencing.

Ola said that most of these samples, sent for genome sequencing, were taken from ROFs, if the viral load is less than 30 CT (cycle threshold) values, taken from a cluster of infections, and the patient manifested severe to critical symptoms.

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