UP-developed test kits ready for commercial use: DOH

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 19 2020 04:33 PM

MANILA — The Department of Health said Sunday the test kits developed by University of the Philippines scientists are now ready for commercial use.

The kits, which had already been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for commercial sale, were recalled in mid-May to undergo re-validation due to a minor deficiency.

In a statement, the DOH said the key issues in the UP test kits, called Genamplify, have been addressed.

"After several months of collaboration, we are proud to say GenAmplify version 2, the country's very own RT-PCR test kit, is finally ready for commercial use," the DOH said.

"As with other medical products and devices, performance of the kit will be regularly monitored," the agency added.

There was a lot of excitement when the University of the Philippines announced in March that it was finalizing its development of a locally-made COVID-19 test kit. This meant that the country would save time and money since the kits won’t be imported.

The kits, developed by the team of Dr. Raul Destura of the UP Philippine Genome Center, are supposed to be manufactured by local company HealthTek and will be initially bought by the Department of Science and Technology.

The UP-developed test kits uses the same technology as the ones first given to the Philippines by the World Health Organization.

Like other PCR tests, it uses a reagent to isolate the genetic material from a patient’s sample. The kit also includes molecular grade water that serves as negative contorl and an amber-colored flourescent material that attaches itself to the COVID-19 virus.

Unlike rapid antibody tests, such PCR tests are able to identify and measure if the patient actually has the COVID-19 virus.

On Saturday, the total number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines reached 65,304 after the DOH recorded 2,357 new confirmed cases.