A mutation of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, that is linked to increased transmissibility has been detected in the province, the Bohol Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) said Thursday.
According to BIATF spokesperson Dr. Yul Lopez, the B1.1.28 mutation was detected in 16 COVID-stricken individuals in Bohol as reported by the Philippine Genome Center (PGC).
This mutation of “potential clinical significance” was found in 14 Dauis residents, one Bilar resident and one Maribojoc resident.
Lopez said that Bohol health authorities, in the first week of February, sent 80 samples from COVID-positive individuals to the PGC for genome sequencing and 16 of these were found to have the mutated coronavirus.
“Dunay kausaban, meaning sa structure sa genome sequence sa virus na nakita niining 16 ka tawo dunay mga mutation kasagaran naa sa spike protein,” the health official added.
According to Lopez, the mutation is believed to be more infectious than the original variant.
He said this may have also contributed in the surge of infections in the province considering its higher transmissibility.
“Dali siyang makatakod. Maspaspas siya mokaylap sa usa ka tawo ngadto sa lain tawo kining mutant variety na nakita sa atong lalawigan,” he said.
However, the health official noted that all 16 individuals who were first determined to be infected with the virus in February have recovered.
Most of them were asymptomatic, Lopez added.
As of Friday morning, there were 210 active COVID-19 cases in Bohol.
Some 90 of these were identified as local transmissions while the rest at 120 cases were newly arrived persons including Returning Overseas Filipinos, Returning Residents and Authorized Persons Outside of Residence.