The satellite facilities of the University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center in Visayas and Mindanao are now capable of sequencing samples, the Department of Health (DOH) announced Tuesday.
In a statement, UP-PGC executive director Cynthia Saloma said the mutations of the virus remain unpredictable.
“We need genomic biosurveillance to help keep our health system ready for any possible new variants and to track the behavior of existing ones. PGC’s network in Luzon, and now Visayas and Mindanao supports this,” Saloma said.
According to the DOH, the satellite facility in the Visayas has sequenced more than 300 samples.
The Health department said these samples were reported by regional epidemiology surveillance units to local government units to help mitigate the transmission of circulating variants in the area.
Meanwhile, the satellite facility in Mindanao is working with the Southern Philippines Medical Center for the sequencing of samples.
The DOH said the facilities were made possible through the efforts of UP, the DOH, the Department of Science and Technology, and the Department of Budget and Management.
“This milestone of the UP-PGC Visayas and Mindanao helps us improve outbreak determination, monitor virus transmission, and streamline disease surveillance,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.
“It helps protect the country from COVID-19 in particular and also improves health and disease surveillance in general for all Filipinos,” she added.
(This article, written by Joahna Lei Casilao, was first published in the GMA News Online Website on March 15, 2022)