(April 3, 2020) – The Philippines’ food and drug regulatory agency approved on Friday the commercial use of a coronavirus test kit developed by researchers from the University of the Philippines.
The GenAmplify detection tool will cost P1,300 each, a huge difference from the P8,000-worth kits presently used in laboratories.
UP researchers developed the kit through funding from the country’s science and technology department, and is manufactured by Manila HealthTek, Inc.
Before accreditation, the test kit, first to be locally-made, went through field trial and gene sequencing in early March.
It is expected to enhance laboratories’ testing capacity in time for the target mass testing for suspected carriers of the virus on April 14.
Health officials are now eyeing to conduct 3,000 COVID-19 tests daily by mid-April.
The FDA also reported that it approved an additional rapid test kit, bringing the total number of approved testing tools in the country to 30.
Four testing kits from China and South Korea had been approved by the agency on March 19.
In January, the Philippines had to send samples from suspected COVID-19 patients to a facility in Melbourne, Australia for testing, a process that took much time.
At present, eight laboratories across the country are running tests daily for the deadly virus, while many hospitals are in the process of accreditation.
Calls for mass testing in the country have grown, an idea that health officials were initially not keen on due to limited testing capacity. (Christian de Lano Deiparine/JBS)
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