DOH gives UP test kits another go signal

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 10) — Amid the continuing fight against COVID-19, the Department of Health has given the green light to use the low-cost, locally developed test kits again.

The first batch of the University of the Philippines GenAmplify™ COVID-19 rRT-PCR Detection Kit was invented by a team of scientists from the National Institutes of Health of the University of the Philippines, the Philippine Genome Center, and The Manila HealthTek, Inc.

It received its certificate of product registration in April. But it was recalled in May due to “minor problems."

In a radio interview, the Food and Drug Administration said some reagents had been contaminated, yielding “indeterminate” results in 30 percent of the samples tested.

But Health Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire said Friday that the developers of the test kits have already fixed the deficiencies.

Nakapag-submit na sila ng bago. Na-validate na ulit ng RITM (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine). Tinutulungan natin sila ngayon para maumpisahan na natin ang paggamit sa [mga] piling laboratoryo dito sa ating bansa. So tayo ay magbibigay na lang ng final advisories sa ating laboratories, and we can already use [these] UP test [kits],” Vergeire said.

[Translation: They have submitted new test kits, which were validated by the RITM already. We are also coordinating with them, so we can start using the equipment in select laboratories as soon as possible. We only have to give out final advisories to the testing facilities, and we can already use these UP test kits.]

She added that the agency already wrote to the Department of Science and Technology to inform them that they may continue the distribution of the test kits.

We are saying 'yes' — na magagamit na — because mayroon nang special certification from FDA,” Vergeire said.

[Translation: We are saying "yes" — we can use it — because we have already obtained special certification from the FDA.]

Laboratory technicians need to undergo training before they can utilize the locally-made test kits.

The Philippines now has 52,914 cases of the dreaded coronavirus infection, with 13,230 recoveries and 1,360 deaths.