PH to start validating Filipino-made COVID-19 test kits

Marje Pelayo

MANILA, Philippines – Field validation on the Filipino-made coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test kits has been set to determine the effectiveness of the Filipino invention in detecting positive cases of coronavirus infection.

According to its inventor, Dr. Raul Destura of the University of the Philippines (UP) National Institute of Health, the test kits are expected to speed up confirmation of positive coronavirus cases of up to 1,000 patients in a span of one week.

Field validation will be held in major hospitals in the country including the Vicente Sotto Medical Center in the Visayas; the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City, Mindanao; and the Philippine General Hospital, The Medical City, and Baguio General Hospital in Luzon.

If the the test kits prove to be effective, it will be given certification of product registration which means it is approved for mass production and usage.

For the test kit to be effective, results from 500 patients should yield more than 90% match.

Destura said each test kit is way cheaper than those imported abroad.

One test kit costs only P1,300 compared to foreign-made test kits which can cost up to P8,000 per unit.

“Ang importante lang kahit siya low cost, dapat yung quality hindi mako-compromise kaya ginagawa natin ito lahat,” Destura, the Deputy Executive Director of the Philippine Genome Center in UP-Diliman, said.

Each procedure using the test kit will take one hour and 30 minutes.

Swab samples from the patients’ nose and throat will be placed under polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, a procedure that has been administered to detect certain viruses such as HIV.

“Ginagawa natin itong model para sana na…it’s ok to dream bigger as Filipino scientist dito sa Pilipinas, (We are doing this to help. It’s okay to dream bigger as Filipino scientist here in the Philippines), Destura said.

The test kit is also capable of determining which country the COVID-19 or novel coronavirus originated.

“Tinatawag iyan na epidemiology movement ng virus, (That’s what we call epidemiology movement of the virus),” the scientist said.

“Malaking importansya kasi natin iyan para malaman natin kung ano yung major na virus group ang pumasok sa dito sa atin, (That is very important so we can determine from what major virus group that which penetrated our country belongs),” he added.

Destura said, it will take three months from the start of field validation before the test kit gets accreditation from the World Health Organization (WHO). — MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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