JAKARTA, Indonesia

A study has identified that a mutation of the novel coronavirus and relaxation of quarantine measures have caused a rapid spike in infections in the Philippines, local media reported on Friday.

A joint US-Philippines research published on Nov. 30 said a mutation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus – D614G – was present in a majority of specimens collected from military and civilian patients between June and July, daily Philippine Star reported.

The study was conducted by V. Luna Medical Center (VLMC) of the Philippines Armed Forces and the US Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences.

According to the research, the presence of the D614G mutation “may partially explain” the rapid rise in infections in the country, noting that the more relaxed quarantine measures might have been the “main driving source.”

It said the new strain is believed to be more infectious than the original D614 genotype that first emerged in Wuhan, China, last year.

The Philippine Genome Center said the D614 strain was detected when the first coronavirus cases were reported in the country in March, while another mutation – G614 – was found in August, read the report.

However, the center clarified that there is no evidence of the new mutation’s impact on the disease’s severity.

The Philippines’ coronavirus tally currently stands at 447,039, including 8,709 deaths, according to official figures.

*Writing by Rhany Chairunissa Rufinaldo from Anadolu Agency’s Indonesian-language service in Jakarta

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