Manila HealthTek aims to produce 8,000 UP-developed coronavirus test kits daily

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 15 2020 02:48 AM

MANILA - Medical research company Manila HealthTek Inc. said Tuesday it aims to produce 8,000 coronavirus test kits per day, which will be distributed to different local government units (LGUs).

Dr. Raul Destura, founder and CEO of Manila HealthTek Inc., said in an interview on ANC that production of the locally made test kits is expected to go in full swing next week.

"It took us several days to do all the manufacturing requirements because of supply chain issues. We're hoping by next week, we are in full manufacturing swing already," he said.

Reagents, which are substances used to detect the presence or absence of another substance, have yet to arrive.

"It's a challenge getting them to the country because so many countries are looking for the same thing. As soon as it arrives, we will be on full manufacturing capacity and to be able to manufacture 8,000 tests per day," Destura said.

The test kit called Genamplify coronavirus disease-2019 rRT-PCR detection kit was approved by FDA in the first week of April. It is real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction-based, which is the “gold standard” for COVID-19 testing.

The kit was developed by scientists from the University of the Philippines National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) and the Philippine Genome Center with the support of the Department of Science and Technology. It is being manufactured and distributed by Manila Healthtek Inc. 

The Philippines, which started its expanded COVID-19 testing on Monday, is currently using procured test kits from other countries.

"Hopefully we can support the additional needs so it can be a massive testing program," Destura said.

During the interview, he said there were plenty of factors that can affect the accuracy of tests.

"One of the major problem is the sample collection... that's why the Department of Heath combined bothnasal pharyngeal swab and oral pharyngeal swab to increase testing the likelihood the pickup of the disease," Destura said.

He added, "The test is not the end-all and be all of a making a diagnosis. It should still be complemented with a clinical assessment. That's why testing like this is recommended to be done on hospital and not at home." 

[LINK: https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/04/14/20/coronavirus-philippines-covid19-updates-cases-5223-record-high-single-day-recoveries-53]

As of Tuesday, the Philippines has recorded 5,223 COVID-19 infections, with 335 deaths and 295 recoveries.

Watch more in iWant or TFC.tv