On Monday, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) announced that at least 120,000 locally-developed COVID-19 test kits will be available starting Saturday. Manila HealthTek Inc. will start manufacturing the 120,000 kits said the DOST.
DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said 26,000 test kits will be used for field implementation and distribution to certain hospitals that are allowed to do testing, namely the Philippine General Hospital, Makati Medical Center, The Medical City, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, Southern Philippines Medical Center, and Baguio General Hospital.
“From April 4 (Saturday) to 25, there will be a field implementation for the 26,000 testing kits funded under the DOST and the University of the Philippines-National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) Project,”
The other 94,000 will be sold at a much affordable price compared to the ones that are used today.
“The remaining 94,000 testing kits will be sold commercially by Manila HealthTek at around P1,300 per kit, which is cheaper than the units currently being used in hospitals which cost about P8,000,”
The field validation for the kits are still being worked on but will ultimately be finished come Wednesday.
“We have informed the FDA that requirements for CPR Certification will be submitted on Wednesday, April 1 at the latest,” he said. The issuance of the Certificate of Product Registration (CPR) from the Food and Drug Administration Philippines (FDA) will be given on Friday.
Last Saturday. Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that the DOH discarded a good amount of COVID-19 test kits that came from China because they were only 40% accurate.
“Sa mga naunang pinadala sa amin na test kits ng China na nakapagpakita ng 40% accuracy, hindi po natin ito ginamit,”
The company that supplied the kits was Sansure Biotech, and is currently being sued says Vergeire.
The Chinese embassy responded saying that this is completely false.
“The test kits mentioned by the DOH official on 28 March 2020 during the press briefing were neither tested by RITM (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine) which did not receive any kit sample for lab validation nor donated by the Chinese government,”
The kits used were not assessed by the RITM, but this is actually the job of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Scientists from the Philippine Genome Center and the University of the Philippines Manila’s National Institutes of Health first had the idea of developing these testing kits. They call it the GenAmplify™ COVID-19 rRT-PCR Detection Kit.
Dr. Raul V. Destura, a microbiologist and infectious disease specialist who currently serves as the deputy executive director of the Philippine Genome Center, who said the research is geared towards “developing low-cost technologies for the control of infectious diseases in the Philippines and the generation of new knowledge to find sustainable and equitable solutions to diseases…”
“Hindi siya madali, pero pinilit nating kayanin dahil gusto nating ipakita din na kaya nating gawin dito sa ating bayan, na i-address ang pangangailangan ng bansa natin,” he added.
Netizens were very proud of the scientists as they’ve made the effort so the country can take a step forward fighting the COVID-19 virus.
Deserves being a top university in the world!!! ❤️❤️❤️ #SalamatUP
— austronger (@austerrawry) March 11, 2020
Up students are now making a huge contribution for the people in our nation its good news, But… to those ppl who wanna smack it to the faces of the gov may I remind you that the government are the ones who are spending for their education but anyways #SalamatUP
— Rose Quartz & Serenity (@ItsMeKiaaaaaa) March 11, 2020
#SalamatUP Please don't allow anyone to make this a business opportunity. These scientists need to be recognized and our government must take care of them. Imagine #COVID19 tests kits for Php 1,320.00, that's only around $26. Mabuhay!
— Grace in Lines (@GraceInLines) March 11, 2020
Worthy to be called the best school in the Philippines❤ thank you!Para sa bayan!#SalamatUP
— inZayn (@krisziameeeeeee) March 11, 2020