Philippines logs 1st cases of Omicron subvariant XBB and XBC variant

PHILIPPINE STAR/ MIGUEL DE GUZMAN

THE PHILIPPINES has logged its first cases of the Omicron subvariant XBB and the XBC variant, the Department of Health (DoH) said on Tuesday.

The country detected 81 cases of the new XBB subvariant and 193 cases of the XBC variant, which is said to be a recombinant of the Delta and BA.2 variants, Health office-in-charge Maria Rosario S. Vergeire told a news briefing.

She said the 81 XBB cases were detected in two regions in the country.

Seventy of the XBB patients have recovered, eight were still isolated, while the remaining three patients were still being verified.

Ms. Vergeire said the 193 XBC cases were detected in 11 regions.

She said 176 of the patients have recovered, three were still isolated and five have died. The remaining nine patients were being verified.

The Omicron XBB subvariant has been the primary cause of fresh spikes in infections in Singapore, Ms. Vergeire said. The Singapore Ministry of Health had said there was no sufficient evidence that the sublineage causes a more severe illness, she added.

Evidence “does not suggest any differences in disease and/or clinical manifestations” between the XBB subvariant and the original Omicron variant, Ms. Vergeire said, citing the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The XBC variant is under monitoring and investigation as classified by the United Kingdom Health Security Agency,” she said. Other global health agencies such as the World Health Organization and European Centers for Disease and Control have yet to determine the variant’s risks. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza