VSMMC among five hospitals in PH to receive locally developed coronavirus 2019 testing kits

By: Irene R. Sino Cruz - CDN Digital | March 30,2020 - 01:14 PM
testing kit

GenAmplify Corona Virus Disease-2019 rRT PCR Detection Kit. Manila HealthTek photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines—The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has scheduled the field implementation and distribution of locally developed coronavirus 2019 testing kits to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) and five other hospitals in the country.

This was revealed by DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña in a post entitled ‘Status Update on Locally-developed COVID-19 Test Kits’ on his Facebook page.

The experts from the Philippine Genome Center and the National Institutes of Health of the University of the Philippines (UP) Manila developed the test kits. 

According to an article posted on the UP Philippines website, the GenAmplify Corona Virus Disease-2019 rRT PCR Detection Kit was the product of several days and hours of intensive research and testing by experts from the university who built upon the genome sequence of COVID-19, made available by the World Health Organization on its website.

De la Peña noted that the field validation for the COVID-19 testing kits was ongoing and was expected to be finished by Wednesday, April 1, 2020.

“The issuance of the Certificate of Product Registration (CPR) from the Food and Drug Administration Philippines (FDA) is expected on Friday, April 3. We have informed the FDA that requirements for CPR Certification will be submitted on Wednesday, April 1 at the latest,” he said.

According to De la Peña, the Manila Health Tek Inc. will manufacture 120,000 test kits. The company had reported that with the arrival of the first batch of needed reagents, they could start the manufacturing process.

“The DOST will prioritize production of 26,000 test kits for field implementation and distribution to the Philippine General Hospital, Makati Medical Center, The Medical City, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, Southern Philippines Medical Center, and Baguio General Hospital,” he disclosed.

DOST has scheduled on April 4 to April 25 the field implementation of these testing kits, which would be funded by the department and the University of the Philippines-National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) Project.

Meanwhile, the remaining 94,000 testing kits will be sold commercially by Manila HealthTek at around P1,300 per kit. This is cheaper than the units currently being used in hospitals, which cost about P8,000, De la Peña pointed out. 

According to De la Peña, the Manila HealthTek informed him that they have enough orders from the private sector who intend to donate them in turn to the Department of Health (Philippines) and hospitals./bmjo

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