First case of ‘FE.1’ Covid-19 Omicron subvariant detected in Philippines

The health department, however, said the current available evidence does not suggest any differences in disease severity for the variant.

Zacarian Sarao

Zacarian Sarao

Philippine Daily Inquirer


Image of Omicron variant in a laboratory

June 20, 2023

MANILA — Department of Health (DOH) reported the country’s first case of the ‘FE.1’ subvariant of COVID-19 Omicro.

This was based on its latest bio-surveillance report reflecting genome sequencing results from May 29 to June 12, 2023.

According to DOH, FE.1 is an Omicron XBB sub-lineage which was added to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)’s variants under monitoring on June 1.

“The variant was initially flagged for its increasing global prevalence and has been detected in 35 countries or jurisdictions across six continents, according to sequence submissions in GISAID (Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data),” said DOH.

Amid this development, Health department said the current available evidence for FE.1 does not suggest any differences in disease severity and clinical manifestations, compared to the original Omicron variant.

It also reported other cases of XBB sub-lineages, including 374 XBB.1.5 cases, 199 XBB.1.16 cases, 747 XBB.1.9.1 cases, 104 XBB.1.9.2 cases, and 198 XBB.2.3 cases.

DOH recorded 206 cases of BA.2.3.20, thirty four of XBC, four BA.5 (including two BQ.1 cases), six BA.2.75 (including five CH.1.1 cases), and 26 cases tagged as “other Omicron sub-lineages.”

Among the XBB sub-variants, XBB.1.9.1 remains the most dominant strain with a total of 1,087 cases recorded.

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