DOH says UP-developed test kits to undergo re-validation after ‘minor’ correction

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 20 2020 08:20 PM

Philippine Genome Center deputy executive director Dr. Raul Destura presents a sample of the locally-developed COVID-19 test kit from the UP-National Institutes of Health during a press briefing on COVID-19 at the Philippine Genome Center in Quezon City on March 12, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The Department of Health on Wednesday said the test kits developed by University of the Philippines scientists had to be recalled because of a minor deficiency.

“Itong UP test kits natin ito ay nag-submit sila sa RITM for validation. But during the time it was validated may nakitang konting problema yung testing kits based on the evaluation done by our national reference laboratory (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine),” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a briefing with media on Wednesday morning.

(For the UP test kits, they submitted to RITM for validation. But during the time it was validated they saw some problems with the testing kits based on the evaluation done by our national reference laboratory.)

Vergeire said the evaluation report was released to the team that developed the test kits.

“And andun naman at nakita nila at sila ay aminado na merong problema ang kanilang kits na very minor lang naman,” she said.

(They saw it and they admitted that there was a very minor problem with the test kits.)

The DOH said the test kits that were being readied for distribution were recalled so corrections could be made.

“Nung kinausap namin sila noong isang araw they are on to the final stages of correcting the identified deficiencies of the kits by RITM and 
hopefully by next week sana maipa-validate na natin ulit sa RITM and we can already use the UP testing kits,” she said.

(When we talked to them the other day they are on the final stages of correcting the identified deficiencies of the kits by RITM and 
hopefully by next week they can have it validated again with the RITM so we can already use the UP testing kits.)

Vergeire refused to discuss the specific problem regarding the kits but she said they will soon announce when the test kits are finally cleared for usage.

ABS-CBN News tried to contact the team behind the development of the kits but has yet to receive a response.

While the UP test kits use the same reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction technology, they are supposed to be cheaper because they are made locally.

They were approved for commercial sale in early April.