As the confirmed cases for the novel coronavirus continue to scare Filipinos, so does the need for immediate testing are in-demand. Since code red was declared by President Rodrigo Duterte (sublevel 1, according to DOH), cautionary methods are being implemented. Fortunately, a COVID-19 test kit produced by University of the Philippines (UP) scientists is now available.
The COVID-19 tests kits were developed by local scientists from the University of the Philippines National Institute of Health (UPNIH). It has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) so it is ready for use.
In an assertion declared by FDA last Tuesday, they have promulgated a certificate of exemption regarding the test kits. These were funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
Rolando Enrique Domingo, FDA’s Director General, says that these tests kits will prove their assistance towards the disease by closely monitoring suspected victims of the COVID-19. Especially that code red is still raised in the country, it should be able to swiftly track down those who have made possible contact with other virus-infected patients.
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Now, the UP-developed COVID-19 test kits are able to give results in less than 2 hours. In comparison, those test kits used in Japan has a waiting period of 24 hours before results can be achieved. UP scientists were able to cut it down to two which makes it entirely convenient and faster to take action.
These new UP COVID-19 test kit costs Php1,320 each, which is way cheaper compared to Php8,500 of the imported test kits. For 25 tests, it can amount from Php20,000 up to Php30,000. Domingo also says that, as of current, the government is responsible for paying the UP-developed kits.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health (DOH) announced that it would further cover tests which may involve potential coronavirus patients as soon as there are enough supplies to get by.
The threat of COVID-19 continues to haunt the Philippines, even the whole world. And with or without test kits, we should always be sure to take preventive measures: face masks, proper hygiene, and refrain from exploring outside if it’s not that important.