Philippines acquires 2019-nCoV diagnostic capability

A JAPANESE team has arrived at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine with the primer for RNA viruses such as the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

This means that in 48 hours, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the Philippines would have the capability to diagnose the highly contagious 2019-nCoV and would no longer need to send specimens from patients to Australia for confirmatory tests.

"In about 48 hours, we shall be able to set up our own capability to detect the novel coronavirus and no longer need to send (specimens) for confirmatory testing to Melbourne, Australia," Duque told the House of Representatives Wednesday afternoon.

A primer is a short nucleic acid sequence that provides a starting point for DNA synthesis. Genetic testing is used to detect viruses.

Duque assured that for the first round of testing, the Philippines is "adequately supplied".

But he said they have yet to determine the volume of supplies brought in by the Japanese delegation.

The RITM in Muntinlupa City received a Containerized Biological Safety Laboratory Level 3 (BSL3) facility from the Japanese government in August 2018.

The facility is designed to handle, process, detect, and contain indigenous or exotic microbes that can cause potentially lethal diseases.

the Department of Health has listed 23 patients under investigation for the 2019-nCoV across the country.

This new pneumonia-causing pathogen, which is believed to have originated in Wuhan City in central China, has killed 132 people and afflicted nearly 6,000 as of Wednesday. (MVI/SunStar Philippines)