PGC SARS-CoV-2 Bulletin No. 5: New Variants from UK and South Africa NOT detected in 305 local viral samples

Recently, new SARS-CoV-2 variants were detected in the United Kingdom and South Africa with multiple spike protein mutations that may cause substantial changes in certain properties of the virus. These observations spurred biosurveillance efforts in different countries, with some countries outside of the UK and South Africa already reporting the presence of these new variants within their territories. The data presented in this report is part of our own continuing biosurveillance efforts to track the entry of these new variants in the country, as well as other viral mutations that may be of concern locally.

PGC SARS-CoV-2 Bulletin No. 4: Newly reported variant in the United Kingdom has yet to be observed locally

In a report posted at the Global Initiative for Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID) website, the UK variant is said to harbor multiple spike protein mutations within a single sample, including a combination of the following: H69del, V70del(69), Y145del(143), N501Y, A570D, D614G, P681H(674), T716I, S982A, and D1118H (GISAID, 2020). While the discovery of this new UK variant appears to be concerning, the report cautions that the detailed effects of these mutations remain to be fully determined.

PGC SARS-CoV-2 Bulletin No. 3: 23 newly reported SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences from the Philippines support PGC’s previously hypothesized viral entry routes and waves of transmission

A group of researchers from the U.S. Army Medical Directorate–Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences, the University of the Philippines Manila, and the V. Luna Medical Center recently reported 23 new SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences from the Philippines, all of which were from cases of local transmission (Velasco et al., 2020). Among these samples, one was collected in early April while the rest were obtained in the months of June and July.

PGC SARS-CoV-2 Bulletin No.2: Three Possible Routes of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the Philippines

Majority of the Philippine submissions (18 of 23) were collected in the month of March, wherein except for one sample which clustered with isolates from Shanghai, China, all others were observed to group into clades linked to the outbreak in the cruise ship, M/V Diamond Princess, moored in Yokohama, Japan in early February 2020. Later that month, passengers and crew members of this cruise ship representing various nationalities including Filipinos, Indians, and Australians were repatriated to their home countries.

PGC SARS-CoV-2 Bulletin No.1: Philippine Genome Center Reports Detection of the D614G Variant of SARS-CoV-2 Virus in the Philippines

COVID-19 or the Coronavirus Disease 2019 is caused by SARS-CoV-2 virus, the genome of which is a single-stranded positive sense RNA that is about 30,000 bases long. It contains 11 genes and several regions have been known to be immunogenic, including different parts of the Spike (S) protein, the Nucleocapsid (N) protein, as well as the Membrane (M) and Envelope (E) proteins, which have therefore been targeted for vaccine development.

PGC Core Facility for Bioinformatics releases six (6) genome sequences of SARS-CoV-2 from Philippine samples between March 22-28, 2020

The Philippine Genome Center (PGC) thru its Core Facility for Bioinformatics (CFB) releases today to the global community through the GISAID database six (6) genomes of the SARS-CoV-2 sequences from Philippine samples taken in Metro Manila between 26 to 28 March 2020.

Overcoming Challenges and Building Opportunities with Bioinformatics

The 2020 Bioinformatics Conference aims to bring together researchers, students, and professionals from the field of genomics and bioinformatics. Themed “#BioInfoPH: Overcoming Challenges, Building Opportunities”—the conference intends to surface the complexities of conducting bioinformatics and genomics research in the Philippines and therein address these challenges through the conference forum.

Call for applications: 2019-2020 Bioinformatics Training and Internship Program (Batch 04: Jan-Feb)

Student applicants must be undergraduate or graduate students in good academic standing, enrolled in a science or engineering course at an accredited college or university in the Philippines. Young professional applicants must have a BS degree in a science or engineering field, and be a researcher and/or faculty member employed at a research or higher education institution in the Philippines.