MANILA, Philippines – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday approved the use of test kits, which were developed by local scientists, to confirm cases of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country.
In a statement, the FDA said it has issued a certificate of exemption for the SARS-CoV2 PCR test kits developed by the University of the Philippines-National Institute of Health (UPNIH), which was funded by the Department of Science and Technology.
The SARS-CoV 2 is the official name of the rapidly spreading novel coronavirus strain.
“This supports the CODE RED status raised by the Department of Health (DOH) and the recent declaration of President Rodrigo Duterte of a state of Public Health Emergency,” the FDA said.
Duterte earlier declared a public health emergency amid the rising cases of COVID-19 infections in the Philippines.
The DOH also raised Code Red Sublevel 1 after confirming the country’s first case of coronavirus local transmission.
FDA Director General Rolando Enrique Domingo said the test kits will help accommodate the growing number of people suspected to have contracted the virus.
“The increasing number of reported COVID 19 cases will require immediate diagnosis and monitoring. This will provide our laboratories with technological reinforcement to accommodate the growing number of patients to be tested and aid in early screening of positive cases. Furthermore, this will provide greater access to a less costly diagnostic procedure,” he said.
As of Monday, March 9, the Philippines has recorded 24 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infections.
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