Mass production of Filipino-made ASF test kits starts this month - Dar

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 20 2021 12:00 PM

Hogs are kept inside their cages after feeding at a backyard pen in Paranaque City, Sept. 16, 2019. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Mass production of Filipino-made test kits that can detect African swine fever will start this month, the Department of Agriculture said Wednesday.

The locally-made test kits, developed last year by scientists from Central Luzon State University, will be distributed to localities in hopes of stemming the viral disease, Agriculture Secretary William Dar told Teleradyo.

"We will distribute this to provinces and municipalities as part of our new biosecurity and surveillance program called 'Bantay ASF sa Barangay,'" Dar said in Filipino.

The rapid test kits can detect the presence of the hog virus in less than an hour, he added.

Dar also lamented that ASF continued to ravage the country, particularly in Luzon, due to the smuggling of meat products infected with the disease.

He called on authorities to double down on inspections at international and domestic seaports and airports.

As of December 2020, the country has culled at least 400,000 pigs since the outbreak started in August 2019, the agency had said.

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