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PH records first case of COVID-19 Lambda variant; DOH clarifies that patient is a local case

By Hannah Mallorca Published Aug 15, 2021 6:23 pm Updated Aug 16, 2021 1:11 pm

The Department of Health (DOH) has detected the first case of the COVID-19 Lambda (C.37) variant in the Philippines on Sunday, Aug. 15. 

According to DOH, the Philippines’ first Lambda case is a 35-year-old female who’s classified as an asymptomatic case. She has since been tagged “recovered” after undergoing the 10-day isolation period.

The health department also assured that “contact tracing is currently underway.”

DOH Undersecretary Ma. Rosario Vergeire said that the 35-year-old woman is a local case and not a returning overseas Filipino in an interview on ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo on Monday, Aug. 16. The woman tested positive for the virus on July 22. 

She was also pregnant when she tested positive for the virus. However, the DOH said that local officials are clarifying whether the woman has given birth. 

“Itong ating kababayan na nagkaroon nito, wala po siyang sintomas. Pero siya ay kailangan i-monitor nang maigi dahil buntis po siya. Kami ay nakipag-panayam kahapon sa ospital kung siya ay nakapag-deliver na ng baby niya," Vergeire added.

Vergeire also said that contact tracing and collecting samples for genome sequencing are underway. This means that samples are taken from areas, clusters, and groups of people that are likely to have the new variants.

The Lambda variant was first identified in Peru in December 2020 and was named as a “variant of interest” by the World Health Organization (WHO) on June 14, 2021. 

According to the WHO, the variant contains at least seven mutations in the spike protein which can cause increased transmission or greater resistance to antibodies. The Delta variant has three mutations.

Studies have also shown that the Lambda variant is more “infectious and vaccine-resistant” compared to other virus strains.

The Philippines has recorded a total of 1,741,616 COVID-19 cases, as of Aug. 15.