Six COVID-19 testing labs to receive UP-NIH’s test kits this week

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 20 2020 09:20 PM

MANILA — Six laboratories are scheduled to receive this week the COVID-19 test kits developed by the University of the Philippines - National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH), according to the Department of Health on Monday.

The 1,300 kits, which can generate 26,000 tests, were developed and funded through a project of the Department of Science and Technology.

“Ang mga susunod po ay mabibigyan na ng test kits ngayong linggo (The following will be receiving the test kits this week) - Philippine General Hospital, Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, Southern Philippines Medical Center, Makati Medical Center, at (and) The Medical City,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a televised briefing.

Dr. Raul Destura, the scientist behind the country’s first locally-developed COVID-19 test kits, discussed on Sunday how the test kits worked.

According to him, it uses the same technology as the test kits given by the World Health Organization to the Philippines - polymerase chain reaction.

Only DOH-accredited laboratories can use the test kits because of biosafety concerns.

As of April 19, the country’s 17 COVID-19 laboratories have tested 55,465 people:

1. UP National Institutes for Health -1,264
2. San Lazaro Hospital -1,118
3. Chinese General Hospital -130
4. Philippine Red Cross -1,590
5. Detoxicare Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory -179
6. Lung Center of the Philippines -2,365
7. St. Luke’s Medical Center-Quezon City -1,612
8. Victoriano Luna Hospital -101
9. The Medical City -265
10. Makati Medical Center -568
11. St. Luke’s Medical Center-Global City -1,646
12. Research Institute for Tropical Medicine -34,350
13. Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center -3,107
14. Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center -2,691
15. Southern Philippines Medical Center -2,402
16. Western Visayas Medical Center -1,903
17. Bicol Regional Diagnostic and Reference Laboratory -174

The DOH earlier said it was already about to run around 4,000 COVID-19 tests a day, which is halfway through their (at least) 8,000 daily tests target by the end of the month.

“Sa ngayon, ang target natin ay makapag-test tayo ng at least 8,000 individuals kada araw dahil ito ang average number na maaring maapektuhan ng respiratory disease, ayon sa mga experto na nag-aral nito.,” Vergeire said.

(For now, our target is to test at least 8,000 individuals a day because that’s the average number of people who can be affected by the respiratory disease, according to experts.)

She said it is important to increase the country’s testing capacity to immediately identify and treat patients, and isolate them from the rest of the community.

As of Monday, the Philippines has logged 6,459 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 613 patients who have recovered and 428 who have died.