MANILA - Scientists from the University of the Philippines are designing a more affordable ventilator that will help patients with the novel coronavirus breathe, the health department said Wednesday as cases of the respiratory disease continued to climb.
The UP-National Institutes for Health in Manila has almost finished designing the ventilator, said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, who declined to give more details about the project.
"Hopefully kapag lumabas po iyong kanilang pinag-aralan na ito at ginagawa, makakuha na tayo ng marami at mas mura po ito," she said.
(Hopefully when the ventilator they are studying and making comes out, we can get additional and cheaper units.))
There are 1,263 ventilators across country, of which about 153 are in Metro Manila, said Vergeire.
She said her agency was working with the budget department to import 1,500 additional ventilators and find a supplier.
"Kapag ganito po kasi, minsan iyong volume ang nagiging bottleneck natin so 'pag ganyan tinitiingnan po natin kung may makukuha tayong supplier," she said.
Apart from the UP-NIH, Vergeire said she was not aware of any other Philippine maker of ventilators.
The institute also developed the first Philippine-made test kits for COVID-19, which could yield "very accurate" results in 2 hours, instead of the typical 24 hours with imported kits, the Food and Drug Administration earlier said.
The UP-NIH on Wednesday will submit the results of a field trial that is required for its test kits to be mass distributed, said the FDA.