June 4, 2020
DOST

DOST Ensures Science Benefits Filipinos amid Covid-19 Pandemic Onslaught

DOST, initiatives, pandemic, Covid-19, coronavirus, Science for the People
Media Release:
SCIENCE for the People.
This is the mantra of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) that conveys its programs and projects are for every Juan and Juana in the Philippines.
It has been the department’s driving philosophy, and nowhere near more relevant than in today’s critical and trying times of the Covid-19 pandemic. That science benefits the Filipino people.
The Philippine is hard-pressed in the battle to contain the viral disease caused by the Severe Acute Respiratory-Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus, thus the government needs all the help it can get.
In the case of the DOST under Secretary Fortunato de la Peña, here is an update on the initiatives it has been taking to address the national emergency brought about by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) and pursuant to Republic Act 11469, or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.
DOST, initiatives, pandemic, Covid-19, coronavirus, Science for the People
DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña. (File photo)
1.    Production of COVID-19 Test Kits Developed by Local Scientists

With DOST funding amounting to Php53.2 million, the University of the Philippines-National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH), Philippine Genome Center, and The Manila HealthTek Inc. are producing and making available Covid-19 diagnostic kits good for 26,000 tests. These kits will be deployed to five (5) healthcare facilities that will perform and evaluate the developed test kits: a) Philippine General Hospital, b). Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, c). Southern Philippines Medical Center, d). The Medical City, and e). Baguio General Hospital

2.    Quick Response by DOST Agencies through Production and Distribution of Face Shields, improvised PPEs and disinfecting solutions and food packs

Following the declaration of the enhanced community quarantine (EQC), various DOST agencies produced face shields/masks, personal protective equipment (cover all suits, shoe covers) and disinfecting solutions that were distributed to various hospitals within their vicinity.  Emergency food packs were also distributed to affected families and communities. Below are some of the activities undertaken by DOST agencies:

·      The DOST Regional Offices produced face shields, provided protection and hygiene kits as well as other supplies to front-liners of local government emergency operations center and health workers. Among the items distributed include the following:

No.

Products/Services Provided by DOST Regional Offices

Quantity

1

Face Shields

3,200 pcs

2

Face Masks (surgical, washable, N95)

9,360 pcs

3

Ethyl Alcohol

513 Liters

4

Disinfectant Solution

200.2 Liters

5

non-woven mob caps

400 packs

6

Nitrile Gloves

87 boxes

7

Sterile Latex Gloves

43 boxes (50pairs/box)

8

Disinfectant/sanitation kits (antibacterial tissue, soap, mouthwash, tissue, bleach)

200 kits

9

Aerosol Box/Intubation Chamber

63 units

10

rRT-PCR machine with other equipment

1 unit

11

Thermal Blanket

48 pcs

12

Plastic Acetate (for face shield)

3 boxes (@100 films/box)

13

Hair nets

2 boxes (@100 pcs/box)

14

Covid-19 Fact Sheets

19 fact sheets in 5 dialects

15

Shoe covers

200 pcs

16

PPE materials

worth P200K

17

Ventilator Valves (prototype)

10 units

18

Gown Suits

100 pcs

19

Safety Goggles

75 pcs

20

Hygiene Kits (alcohol, face mask, soap)

65 kits

21

Food Safety Gears

30 sets

22

Kitchen Utensils

30 sets

23

Tissue Rolls

24 rolls

24

Brooms

5 pcs

25

Rice Mongo Curls

1,260 pcs

26

Rice Brewed Coffee

80 bottles

27

Brewed Coffee

16 packs

28

Sugar

16 kg

29

Coffee Creamer

4 packs

30

Cookies

300 packs

31

Iron-fortified Rice

125 kg

32

Calamansi Juice (ready-to-drink)

7,320 bottles

33

Rice Packs

44 packs

DOST, initiatives, pandemic, Covid-19, coronavirus, Science for the People
File photo from DOST.

They also organized community outreach programs to help families affected by the ECQ. Details of the products, services, and initiatives of the Regional Offices are presented in Annex 1.

·      Nine Philippine Science High School (PSHS) campuses produced 2,419 face shields, 44 aerosol boxes and 1 triage chamber for distribution to hospitals and health workers.

·      The DOST’s Industrial Technology Development Institute (DOST-ITDI) made available immediately 15,000 packs of ready-to-eat (RTE) arroz caldo chicken and 3,000 packs of rice meal and distributed on March 26 in the National Capital Region (NCR) particularly Taguig City, Pasig City, Manila, San Juan, Quezon City, and Davao City.

3.    Continuing Provision of technical services and assistance to EQC-affected communities and personnel 

The DOST Research and Development (R&D) institutes and Regional offices are offering their technical services and assistance to communities that are affected by EQC, as follows:

·       The Regional Standards and Testing Laboratories (RSTL) of DOST XI and XIII continue to provide testing and analytical services to its clients. They are offering their services for free or at a discount especially for necessary products that will be used by local government units (LGUs), hospitals, and other government institutions.

·       The DOST- Metals Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC) has ready designs for evacuation tents, hospital beds and crushing machine for spent medical vials. They also have agro-machinery designs for livelihood purposes.

·       The DOST-Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) can provide complimentary food for babies and children. They are available in 37 technology adopters which are either LGUs, state universities and colleges (SUCs), non-government organizations (NGOs) or private enterprises in different regions.

·       The DOST-Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI) can use their new satellite imagery and other complementary data in providing useful data analytics, e.g., movement of people, and computational studies related to Covid-19.

·       DOST’s Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (DOST-PNRI) can offer sterilization services using e-beam irradiation for medical devices.

4.    Initiated Covid-19 Research and Development (R&D) Projects

The DOST has initiated a number of R&D projects to address various concerns on Covid-19 and these are being implemented by DOST R&D institutes and partner universities. Among these are the following:

·       The DOST- Philippine Textile Research Institute (DOST-PTRI) in cooperation with the local government of Taytay and the private sector will produce 500,000 re-useable, washable and re-wearable facial masks as protective face wear against Covid-19. It will use a PTRI textile-coating technology for treatment and finishing which will make the face masks repel water droplets and aerosols that may harbor the causes of emerging infectious diseases such as Covid-19. The resulting face masks will be breathable and its water-repellency is guaranteed up to 50 laundering cycles. The DOST-PTRI is also collaborating with Power Fashion Inc. to produce these masks using local fiber textiles which will be donated by the latter.

·       “Feasibility Study of Syndromic Surveillance Using Spatio-Temporal Epidemiological Modeler (FASSSTER) for Early Detection of Diseases” for Covid-19 is being implemented by Ateneo de Manila (AdeMU). The project will be able to create predictive modeling through a spatio-temporal epidemiological modeler (STEM) for the spread of Covid-19 infections nationwide. The research team is coordinating with DOH on the data source and is part of the DOH Analytics Team.

·       The use of RxBox for telemetry monitoring of Covid-19 cases at the Philippine General Hospital is being studied. This undertaking is being spearheaded by DOST-CALABARZON and DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) with the team from UP-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH), UP Diliman Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute (UP-EEEI), UP Manila National Telehealth Center (UP-NTHC), and IONICS EMS, Inc.

·      The DOST-IVA and FNRI are working on “VCO for Covid-19 Clinical Testing” to determine the clinical experience of VCO on Covid-19 patients and Covid-19 persons under investigations (PUIs). This project will be funded by the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA)

·      UP Manila is working on “Clinical Safety and Efficacy Study GinHAWA”, A Philippine-made ICU ventilator to conduct clinical testing of the locally made ICU ventilator. The project will increase its study sites and units for testing to include Covid-19 patients admitted in ICUs.

·       The DOST- ASTI is developing non-contact temperature-taking device with medical grade sensor that can be used in checkpoints and by other front-liners. There are three developed prototypes: (a) using Modified Wood Moisture Meter, looks similar to typical thermal scanners (b) phone attachment type with wire interface (c) phone attachment type with wireless/Bluetooth interface.

·       The AdeMU is working on “In Vitro Study on the Efficacy of Lauric Acid and Derivatives Against SARS-CoV-2” to determine through in-vitro experiments whether lauric acid and/or its derivatives, in particular, its sodium salt (sodium laurate), glyceryl monolaurate (monolaurin), and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), alone or in combination, can prevent or diminish the infectivity of SARS-CoV-2.

5.    International collaboration on Covid-19 R&D

The Department has already initiated contact for possible collaboration with its bilateral partners to aid the Covid-19 situation in the country. Specifically, DOST has expressed its willingness to collaborate with other countries on clinical trials on Covid-19 vaccine development, that will help not just our country, but also all countries affected by this pandemic. To date, the Department has already received positive feedback from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) on a possible vaccine development collaboration. Initial talks with both DOST and CAS scientists and experts will commence to determine their next steps. Subsequently, the British Embassy in the Philippines has already shared six (6) projects related to Covid-19 that was approved by their Medical Research Council (MRC). These projects were already shared to our PCHRD for their review and identification where our local experts prefer to participate with reference to Covid-19’s vaccine development.

Likewise, counterparts from the Russian Embassy, the Embassy of the Republic of Korea, and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Manila, have positively acknowledged DOST’s intent to collaborate, and expressed their support to this initiative.

The Department affirms its commitment to work hand in hand with the local and foreign Science & Technology (S&T) community in generating the needed knowledge and developing innovative solutions to abate the Covid-19 pandemic. We will continue to update your office on developments regarding our initiatives. (DOST Media Services)

Note: The DOST provided this update to Malacanang through Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, spokesman of the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

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