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Mass Testing now possible, thanks to Filipino Scientists who invented affordable COVID-19 testing kits – Legarda

April 6, 2020

Deputy Speaker and Antique Lone District Representative Loren Legarda expresses her support of our local scientists and researchers as they continue to attain breakthroughs and provide urgent solutions to defeat Covid-19.

The team of scientists from the Philippine Genome Center and the University of the Philippines Manila – National Institute of Health led by Dr. Raul Destura, deputy executive director of the Philippine Genome Center, developed the GenAmplify™ COVID-19 rRT-PCR Detection Kit, the first locally made (polymerase chain reaction) PCR based COVID-19 test kit approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“I highly recognize the efforts of our local scientists and researchers in providing low-cost technologies for controlling infectious diseases. These breakthroughs signify the importance of supporting research initiatives of our State Universities and Colleges and implementing agencies,” Legarda stated.

Deputy Speaker Legarda, during her stint as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, has provided support under the University of the Philippines, including the Completion of the Renovation and Rehabilitation of the Departments of Biochemistry, Anatomy and Pathology; Funding for the Science Society Program of the UP College of Science under UP Diliman, which aims to develop graduate courses on Science Technology and Society and Science Policy for National Development; UPLB Nanoscience and Technology Facility; UPLB Extension, Rehabilitation, and Renovation of the Agricultural and Bio-Process Division Building; Upgrading of IT Networks in UP Mindanao; Design, Build, Installation and Commissioning of PET-CT Scanner, under the UP PGH; Enhancement of the Research, Development and Public Service Programs of the National Institute of Molecular and Biotechnology (BIOTECH), UP Los Baños; and the Newborn Hearing Screening Reference Center: Philippine National Ear’s Setting up of National Cochlear Implant Program in Visayas and Mindanao.

Following the approval of the test kits for commercial use, the team is now working on the production of 120,000 test kits, which will be distributed by the DOST in various hospitals namely Philippine General Hospital, Makati Medical Center, The Medical City in Pasig City, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City, Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City, and Baguio General Hospital Medical Center in Baguio City for its field implementation from April 4 to April 25.

“This breakthrough is very important to us in providing mass testing for all PUMs and PUIs and will greatly benefit our medical frontliners in treating patients and eventually flattening the curve. I also urge all hospitals and the Doh to test all our medical workers and frontliners especially those who are exposed to covid patients. I urge the DOH to implement mass testing now,” Legarda concluded.#