By EDD K. USMAN
Twitter: @edd1819, Instagram: @bluestar0910, Facebook: SDN — Science, Digital & Current Affairs
(SDN) — HELP is on the way!
A Filipino-made coronavirus diagnostic test kit, barring any unforeseen hitch, could be ready very soon for use by six hospitals.
The other day the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) headed by Secretary Fortunato T. de la Pena expects the test kits’ field validation to be completed by Wednesday, April 1, 2020.
He said also expected is the issuance on April 3 (Friday) of the Certificate of Product Registration (CPR) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the Department of Health (DOH).
“We have informed the FDA that requirements for CPR Certification will be submitted on Wednesday, April 1 at the latest,” a statement from the science chief’s office said.
The DOST has identified six hospitals are priority in the distribution of the 1,300 test kits to be manufactured by the Manila HealthTek, Inc., which amount to 26,000 tests (meaning 26,000 persons).
It said the “first batch of reagents has arrived which will enable them (Filipino scientists behind the DOST-funded research for the coronavirus diagnostic test) to start the manufacturing process to create additional kits that can accommodate 120,000 tests.”
The six priority hospitals for the tests’ field implementation and distribution are the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), Makati Medical Center (MMC), The Medical City (TMC), Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC), Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC), and Baguio General Hospital (BGH).
“From April 4 to 25, there will be a field implementation for the 26,000 tests funded under the (DOST) and the University of the Philippines-National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) Project.
For the remaining kits which are for 94,000 tests, they will be sold commercially by Manila HealthTek at around Php1,300 per kit which is cheaper than the units currently being used in hospitals which cost about Php8,000, the DOST statement said.
The Manila HealthTek revealed that “they have enough orders from the private sector who intends to donate them in turn to the Department of Health (Philippines) and hospitals.”
It can recalled the Scientist Dr. Raul V. Destura of University of the Philippines Manila (UPM) led a team of Filipino scientists and researchers under the wings of the DOST intent on developing a faster and cheaper coronavirus test kit.
Starting off from research platforms conducted by big international pharmaceutical companies his team designed and developed the diagnostic test for coronavirus in just 21 days.
Destura, vice president of the National Research Council of the Philippines (DOST-NRCP) and head of its Division III (Medical Sciences), clarified earlier that a “test” is for a single person while a test kit may have from 1,000 to 2,000 tests, meaning for 1,000 to 2,000 individuals.
He also won various awards for his research studies, such as the Biotek-M Dengue Aqua Kit he invented, a quick dengue diagnostic. His invention won a Godl Medal in the 46th International Exhibition of Inventions Geneva (Geneva Inventions) in Switzerland. (SDN)