Lambda variant emergence puzzles Visayas execs
BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines — A 35-year-old woman from Valladolid town in Negros Occidental province is the Philippines first case of the Lambda variant of COVID-19 but more questions on how she contracted the highly contagious virus emerged as health officials started studying her case.
Provincial administrator Rayfrando Diaz said the woman, who was pregnant when she tested positive for COVID-19, had never traveled outside of Negros Occidental in the past year. She had not infected others as all her family members and close contacts tested negative for the virus.
Her swab test on July 2 returned a positive result for COVID-19. While asymptomatic, she was transferred to a quarantine facility and tested negative during a reswab on July 16.
Variant of interest
But she again tested positive for COVID-19 on July 22, the same day she delivered her baby, during a routine testing for those giving birth. The baby and other close contacts tested negative.
She and her baby were released from a monitoring facility on Aug. 6, 10 days before she was confirmed to be the first case of the Lambda variant in the country.
The Department of Health (DOH) in Western Visayas said the woman’s specimen was sent to the University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center for whole genome sequencing. The result indicating her infection with the Lambda variant was released on Aug. 16.
The Lambda variant, first documented in Peru in December 2020, is considered by the World Health Organization as a variant of interest (VOI), according to the DOH, noting that it is potentially more infectious and has severe effects than the original strain.
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