The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday confirmed the detection of Omicron BQ.1, a descendant of BA.5, which has emerged as fast-spreading Covid-19 subvariant in the US, accounting for 27 percent of infections there as of October 29.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention BQ.1 and the BQ.1.1 accounts for half of Covid-19 cases in the US. The BQ.1.1 has yet to be detected in the country so far.
The latest genome sequencing results of UP-Philippine Genome Center, Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, and San Lazaro Hospital from October 28 to November 18, showed that there were 14 cases of BQ.1.
Of the number of cases, 13 were local cases from the National Capital Region, Cordillera Administrative Region, Regions 1, and 4A and 7.
“What we know so far from this BQ.1, it is more transmissible and also highly immune evasive compared to the other subvariants of Omicron,” DOH Officer-in-Charge Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a news briefing.
BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 has also detected around the world for months now.
Both descendants of BA.5 have also been identified in the UK and several countries in Europe, with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) having classified BQ.1 as a variant of interest.