MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday, March 21, said that the COVID-19 test kit developed by the scientists from the University of the Philippines (UP) will be available for commercial use after two to 3 weeks of validation.
“Ang proseso po ng pagpapa-validate ay hindi po mabilis. Ito ay meron silang pinipiling lugar kung saan mag gagawa sila ng field trial,” DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a virtual press briefing. (The process of validation would take time. It includes selecting a particular area where they can do the field trial.)
The DOH said that the UP test kit would undergo thorough validation. After the validation process, it needs to get a Certificate of Product Registration (CPR) from the Food and Drug Administration of the Philippines (FDA) before mass use.
The test kit is capable of fast detection of the coronavirus in samples taken from patients. The results can be ready in two hours. The UP test kit is cheaper than the test kits being used now. (READ: How does the U.P.-developed coronavirus detection kit work?)
According to the DOH, the COVID-19 test at the RITM ranges from P5,000 to P8,000, including the extraction steps that cost around P1,200 to P1,500. The UP test kit costs around P2,700-P3,500, including extraction procedures.
Still no mass testing
Meanwhile, the DOH said the Philippines still would not implement mass testing for coronavirus, even as the country received 100,000 new test kits from China, South Korea, and Brunei. (READ: Netizens urge DOH to conduct mass testing for coronavirus)
The DOH added that the donated test kits “may only be sufficient for our countrymen this time.” (READ: When should you get tested for coronavirus?)
The Philippines’ testing capacity is 950 to 1,000 tests per day, with the bulk coming from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine which can perform an average of 600 tests per day.
As of Saturday, the Philippines has 307 confirmed cases of coronavirus, 19 have died, and 13 have recovered. – Rappler.com