PH detects first COVID-19 Omicron XBF case



The Department of Health (DOH) said that the Philippines has tallied a first case of the COVID-19 Omicron subvariant XBF—a recombinant sublineage of BA.5.2.3 and CJ.1.

The DOH said that the XBF was said to be the reason behind the sudden rise in infections in Australia and Sweden.

But the DOH said that based on their study on the available evidence, the subvariant “does not suggest any differences in disease severity and/or clinical manifestations compared to the original Omicron variant.”

“XBF is a recombinant sublineage of BA.5.2.3 and CJ.1 (BA.2.75.3 sublineage) that was initially flagged for its increasing prevalence and has been associated with recent case increases in Australia and Sweden,” DOH said.

“Based on wastewater analysis conducted in Australia, as of February 10, XBF accounts for approximately 55% of total cases detected in Victoria, Australia. Preliminary studies also show that many of Australia’s antiviral treatments against COVID-19 were no longer effective against multiple Omicron subvariants circulating in the country, including XBF,” it added.

The DOH’s COVID-19 biosurveillance report also said that the XBF case in the country was recorded in a genome sequence on January 28, with collection date in December 2022.

The DOH also said that aside from XBF, there were also two additional cases of the Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 from their genome sequence results from February 7 to February 9.

The report said that of the recent 69 samples that were sequenced by the University of the Philippines – Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC), 26 were classified as XBB (including two cases classified as XBB.1.5), ten as BA.2.3.20, three as BA.5 (including one case classified as BQ.1), two as BA.2.75, one as XBC, and 20 as other Omicron sublineages.

Of the 26 XBB cases, one case was classified as a returning overseas Filipino, and the rest were local cases from Regions 2, 3, 4A, 7, 10, 11, and National Capital Region.

CurrentPH News Service

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