PGC SARS-CoV-2 Bulletin No. 6: First case of the new variant under Lineage B.1.1.7 detected in the Philippines

Through the biosurveillance efforts of the UP – Philippine Genome Center (PGC), in coordination with the Department of Health (DOH) – Epidemiology Bureau and the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Task Force on COVID-19 Variants,  we report the first confirmed case of the SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 lineage, more commonly known as the UK variant, in the Philippines. An announcement of this finding can be found in an official DOH press release dated January 13, 2021.

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. 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.

Updated rates for COVID-19 testing following the DOH & DTI JAO No. 2020-0001 starting Nov. 27, 2020

PGC’s Clinical Genomics Laboratory / COVID-19 lab releases updated rates for its swab testing services to reflect the base price of P3800.00 following the DOH & DTI Joint Administrative Order No. 2020-0001. The swabbing schedule runs from Mondays to Fridays, with the booth located at the Institute of Mathematics, National Science Complex, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City.

COVID-19 expanded screening and drive-thru swabbing at 2,280.00 Php (VAT exclusive) from October to November 2020

PGC’s Clinical Genomics Laboratory (CGL) is implementing a special rate of 2,280.00 Php (VAT exclusive) from October 14, 2020 until November 13, 2020 for all its rRT-PCR COVID-19 testing services. Similar process will apply on how to book swab appointments to prevent overcrowding and ensure that proper biosafety and security protocols are followed.

PGC’s COVID-19 lab opens Drive-thru & On-foot Swabbing Operations

In addition to its mandated COVID-19 testing (RT-PCR) for PhilHealth covered patients, the Philippine Genome Center’s Clinical Genomics Laboratory (CGL) / COVID-19 Testing Lab will open its Drive-thru & On-foot Swabbing Operations on October 12, 2020, Monday. The drive-thru and on-foot service will cater to private testing requests for elective cases. Elective swabbing applies to individuals without symptoms or those requiring testing as part of routine clearance. It will include clearance purposes such as for work, travel, and/or medical clearance (i.e. dental, surgical, etc.).

Contact Exposure Algorithm

The Philippine Genome Center’s COVID-19 Lab (Clinical Genomics Laboratory) developed a Contact Exposure Algorithm designed following the latest community guidelines of the WHO and CDC. The chart is intended to help inform the UP System Community with regard to conducting one self in the event of potential exposure. This algorithm may serve as reference for other communities, institutions, and/or offices.