BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – The Alpha and Beta variants of SARS-COV-2 are both in the listing of the World Health Organization as variants of concern, which means that they are highly transmissible and virulent.
The theta variant, on the other hand, has already been taken off the WHO list.
This is according to world-renowned vaccinologist Dr. Melvin Sanicas has he explained the three different variants that are currently in the city.
Earlier, the Bacolod City PIO, quoting City Health Officer-in-charge Edwin Miraflor, Jr., announced that the COVID variants Alpha, Beta, and Theta have entered the city.
Sanicas told DNX that the Alpha variant, the B.1.1.7, was first detected in the United Kingdom from a sample taken in September. It is more contagious than the original virus and is placed currently as a variant of concern, which means that it is highly transmissible, more severe, and more resistant to vaccines.
On the other hand, the Beta variant, or the B.1.351 was first found in South Africa, and is around 50 percent more transmissible than the original variant. It is also listed as a variant of concern.
The theta variant, on the other hand, is “locally grown”, Sanicas said, and was detected last February in the Western Visayas. It has been taken of the list as a variant of concern by the WHO.
As this developed, Sanicas also debunked claims that those vaccinated could be super spreaders because of the phenomenon called viral shedding.
Earlier, Pastor Emilio Henares told DNX that those vaccinated could still spread the virus because of the presence of spike proteins in the vaccines which could infect others.
“Viral shedding can only happen in vaccines where that uses the attenuated (weakened) virus,” Sanicas said, adding, “there are no COVID vaccines so far that use attenuated virus.”
He added that people should just go by the numbers to see that vaccination really works.
He said in the United States, states with at least a vaccination rate of 70 percent has fewer deaths and cases as compared to states that have only 50 percent vaccination rate.
The difference of 20 percent has a really big impact in preventing the spread, he added.