U.P. recalls locally-made coronavirus test kits over ‘very minor’ defects – DOH

Bonz Magsambol
U.P. recalls locally-made coronavirus test kits over ‘very minor’ defects – DOH
The Department of Health says that UP experts are already on the last stage of correcting the defects, which the agency doesn't specify

MANILA, Philippines – Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said on Wednesday, May 20, that the University of the Philippines-National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) had recalled its locally-made coronavirus test kits over “very minor” defects.

During an online media forum, Vergeire said that the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) saw the defects, which she didn’t specify, when the test kits were sent for validation. 

Vergeire said that the kits were recalled so the UP experts could correct them.

“What they did was they recalled all the testing kits they sent out to different facilities so they could fix the minor defects,” Vergeire said in a mix of English and Filipino.

According to Vergeire, the UP experts were already on the last stage of correcting the defects and will submit the test kits to RITM for validation. 

In April, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a certificate of product registration for the UP test kits.

An imported real-time polymerase chain reaction or RT-PCR test kit costs around P8,000. The coronavirus test kit developed by UP scientists costs around P2,700 to P3,000.

The UP test kit is also PCR-based.

This recent development happened at a time when the country still struggles to increase its testing capacity. 

On May 10, the health department said it finally reached its target of conducting 8,000 COVID-19 tests in a day – although 10 days past its target date of April 30.

These were due to the tests done by accredited centers across the country supported by local governments. Previously, the country only had 5 accredited testing centers.

Meanwhile, Bases Conversion and Development Authority chief and national testing czar Vince Dizon said the government targets to do 30,000 coronavirus swab tests daily by May 30.

As of Tuesday, the Philippines recorded 12,942 cases of coronavirus infections, with 837 deaths and 2,843 recoveries. – Rappler.com


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Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.