The Department of Health (DOH) clarified on Monday that the country’s first recorded Lambda patient is not a returning overseas Filipino worker (OFW). 

Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said a 35-year-old expectant mother, who caught the virus in July, is the first Lambda case in the Philippines. But she assured that the woman has since fully recovered from the affliction. 

“Itong ating kababayan nung nagkaroon ito ay wala siyang sintomas pero siya ay kailangan i-monitor nang maigi dahil buntis po siya,” she shared to ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo.

The health department said they’re currently conducting contact tracing and are collecting virus samples for whole-genome sequencing. 

Vergeire notes that the Lambda variant cannot cross the placental barrier. However, its transmissibility is comparable to the Delta variant. 

“Yung virus po hindi siya nagko-cross ng placental barrier,” she revealed. 

“Base sa analysis natin, hindi naman po siya mas kumakalat compared to the Delta variant,” she added. 

According to Vergeire, vaccines are still effective against this new variant as it does not affect cell-mediated immunity. 

“Wala ho tayong ebidensiya ng resistance against sa COVID-19 vaccine,” she said. “All our vaccines are still effective in variants of concern.”

On August 15, DOH logged 14,749 new COVID-19 infections, which brings the total number of active cases in the country to 102,748. 

And so far, the agency has identified 807 cases of the Delta variant out of the country’s 1,741,616 infections. 

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Image credit: Department of Health and Lisa Marie David/ NurPhoto via Getty Images