public health

Rapid test kits for rabies launched in Philippines

Rapid test kits for rabies launched in Philippines

DEMO. Dr. SAITO Nobuo demonstrates the use of the rabies ICT kits to JICA Chief Representative AZUKIZAWA Eigo and DA-BAI officials.

JICA Philippines

PRESS RELEASE: JICA vows to support the Philippines' rabies prevention and control program for the next two years through the test kits and by providing training to all regional animal diagnostic laboratories nationwide

Rapid test kits for rabies have been launched in the Philippines to support the early detection of rabies in high-risk areas.

The test kits were developed under a technical cooperation of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Animal Industry (DA-BAI) called “Establishment of the One Health Prevention and Treatment Network Model for the Elimination of Rabies in the Philippines” – also known as the “Japan and Philippines One Health Rabies” (JAPOHR) Project. 

The Immunochromatographic Test Kit (ICT Kit) for rabies supports easy, fast, and accurate diagnosis of the disease.

Rabies diagnosis take about two to three hours with the use of a microscope and an incubator in normal circumstances. With the new ICT kits, diagnosis is radically sped up to 20 to 30 minutes without the use of this equipment, accelerating detection and start of treatment.  

“The ICT kits offer an innovative way to tackle rabies prevention and diagnosis in the Philippines. At this time when public health is an important issue in development, the test kits for rabies can contribute to the eradication of one of the common diseases in the Philippines and help improve the quality of life of people,” said Chief Representative Azukizawa Eigo.  

Japanese expert Dr. Saito Nobuo, Deputy Chief Advisor of the project, explained that rabies has been eradicated in Japan and that the project is an opportunity to share Japanese knowhow in addressing diseases and other public health challenges.

The ICT test kits were developed by Dr. Nishizono of Oita University and ADTEC, a Japanese pharmaceutical company, to provide the rapid rabies diagnosis tool in parts of the world where the disease is endemic. 

(L-R) Dr. SAITO Nobuo, Deputy Chief advisor of JAPOHR project; AZUKIZAWA Eigo, JICA Philippines Chief Representative; Reildrin Morales, Director of DA-BAI; Dr. Imelda Santos, OIC-Chief of Animal Health & Welfare Division. Photo courtesy of JICA Philippines
Photo courtesy of JICA Philippines

JICA vows to support the rabies prevention and control program in the Philippines for the next two years by providing the ICT kits for evaluation, and provide necessary training to all regional animal diagnostic laboratories nationwide.

Rabies is one of the oldest communicable diseases known to man. Globally, 59,000 people die from rabies every year.

According to the Department of Health (DOH) rabies remains to be a public health problem in the Philippines. It is the most acutely fatal infectious disease responsible for the death of 200 to 250 Filipinos every year. At least a third of human rabies deaths are among children less than 15 years of age. 

“The ICT Kits will be most helpful in the early detection of rabies, especially in high risk areas as well as in free areas,” said BAI-OIC Director Reildrin Morales.

Aside from the ICT kits, the project has recently developed the Rabies Data Share System (RaDSS) with the aim to enable the rapid One Health interventions such as contact tracing and ring-vaccinations by sharing data of rabid animals between the veterinary agencies such as Provincial Veterinary Office and Municipal Animal Office, and the human health agencies such as Provincial and Municipal Health Offices.

The JAPOHR project, which began in 2018, is under JICA’s Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development (SATREPS) that promotes international research collaboration between Japan and partner countries. Under the project, the DOH and DA-BAI work with the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development, and Oita University.  – Rappler.com

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