Angara: Ramping up biosurveillance, genome sequencing needed to control Delta variant

The Nation's Leading Newspaper

8/1/2021 10:30:00 PM

Angara: Ramping up biosurveillance, genome sequencing needed to control Delta variant

The Nation's Leading Newspaper

Senator Sonny Angara on Sunday, August 1 urged the government to ramp up biosurveillance and genome sequencing to control the spread of new coronavirus (COVID-19) variants, particularly the Delta variant, which has wreaked havoc in at least two countries.

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With more cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19 being recorded in the country, Angara said the Philippines cannot afford to have “a wait and see attitude” due to the fact that the virus is highly contagious, and could immediately lead to outbreaks if it is not identified and controlled as soon as possible.

“We are at the point where we are slowly opening up our economy and people are eager to get their lives back to normal. But this new variant of COVID is threatening to disrupt our progress so we should not let our guard down,” Angara said.“What we have seen in Indonesia is alarming and the same is taking place in other parts of the world. We cannot afford to be complacent now. Let’s do everything possible to prepare for the worst case scenario and prevent this from happening,” he stressed. headtopics.com

Angara said one way to prevent another outbreak in the country is through genomic sequencing or surveillance, which is already being done by the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) but at a very low rate.Presently, the country evaluates a mere 750 samples per week or less than one percent of the recorded cases nationwide, which is far from the ideal sequencing rate of five percent, as indicated by the PGC itself.

“Improving our genome sequencing and biosurveillance capabilities would also be very useful in our responses to future epidemics,” said Angara, who earlier filed Senate Resolution No. 759, which seeks a review of the functions and mandate of the PGC.The Department of Health (DOH) earlier reported that a total of 35 cases of the Delta variant have been detected in the country, three of which have died.

With the emergence of these new variants, Angara stressed genomic research becomes even more crucial in the efforts to understand their unique characteristics, its transmissibility and risk to particular sectors of the population.“Our experience with the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that we should always be prepared from day one and not wait until it’s too late to react,” he reiterated.

But at the same time, the lawmaker said the government should accelerate the country’s vaccination program so that more Filipinos can get inoculated and protected especially from severe ailments brought about by COVID-19. Read more: Manila Bulletin News »

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