WHO assessing 'problems' with UP's FDA-approved coronavirus test kit | Inquirer News

WHO assessing ‘problems’ with UP’s FDA-approved coronavirus test kit

By: - Reporter / @ConsINQ
/ 11:01 AM March 11, 2020

MANILA, Philippines -The 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test kit developed by the University of the Philippines National Institute of Health (UPNIH) is being thorougly assessed and studied by the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure accuracy and address other ‘problems’,  Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Wednesday.

“May problema pang nakikita. Nakakatakot yung gagamitin natin (na test kits), ang resulta ay mag-false negative. I cannot afford to take any risks. Isang expert ng WHO ay patuloy ang assessment,” said Duque, who did not specify the issues surrounding the test kits.

(We see some problems. We are worried that the test kits would show a false negative result. I cannot afford to take any risks.  Continuous assessment is being carried out by a WHO expert.)


Duque added that once the problems are addressed, the test kits may be subjected to parallel testing with the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Muntinlupa City.


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved UPNIH’s test kits, funded by the Department of Science and Technology, which will fast- track the testing and screening for the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Duque said the UPNIH test kit is cheaper at P1,500 per test.  The RITM’s test kit costs P6,000 each.

Last Tuesday, Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the rapid test kits developed by the UP scientists would produce confirmatory results in only two hours, which is faster than RITM’s laboratory-based polymerase chain reaction testing which will take 24 to 48 hours.

The RITM’s management said only persons under investigation (PUIs) for the coronavirus disease will be tested.

Patients observed for the fatal disease are those with “flu-like symptoms, exposure to COVID-19 positive individuals, and travel history to affected countries with local transmission.”

As of Wednesday morning, the Philippines has 33 confirmed COVID-19 cases and one fatality.

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