UP National Institutes of Health’s test kits for nCoV set for DOH validation

Aileen Cerrudo

The UP National Institutes of Health has developed test kits for novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) which is set for the verification of the Department of Health (DOH) next week.

UP scientist Raul Destura, during the Senate inquiry on Tuesday (February 4), said the test kits would aid the DOH in confirming more 2019-nCoV cases in the country. 

“This was developed two weeks ago immediately after they released the whole genome sequence of the virus,” he said. “Hopefully by next week, it would be ready for the DOH to verify and validate before they give their recommendation for use in the country.”

The Health Department is currently using primers they acquired from Japan for confirmatory tests which usually takes within 48 hours for the results to be determined.

“It’s like a code that—more or less, it will guide you to identify [the virus]. ‘This is exactly the virus that’s similar to the one in Wuhan’,” Duque said.

However, Duque said the RNA primer is not yet commercially available which makes it difficult for the Health Department to acquire big batches.—AAC

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