DOST allots P53.2-M to fund development of UP COVID-19 test kits
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has allotted P53.2 million as funding for the development of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVD-19) test kits by the University of the Philippines National Institute of Health (UPNIH) in response to the pandemic, a report submitted by President Rodrigo Duterte to Congress states.
The report said field validation of the UPNIH COVID-19 test kits is ongoing and is expected to be finished by April 1.
An earlier press release of the DOST said the test kit “aims to detect the 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) with high specificity and efficiency through a one-step multiplex real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) platform.”
DOST said the locally-developed kit is estimated to cost at ₱1,320 per test. This is cheaper than its foreign counterparts which cost ₱8,500 per test.
“From 04 to 25 April 2020, there will be a field implementation of the 26,000 tests funded under the Project for distribution to five hospitals that can do the testing,” according to Duterte’s report released to reporters by Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon.
Drilon is a part of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee tasked to check if the orders made by the executive branch are “within the restrictions” provided by Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan To Heal As One Act.
Section 4 (x) of of the said law seeks to “expedite and streamline the accreditation of testing kits and facilitate prompt testing by public and designated private institutions of PUIs (Patients under Investigation) and PUMs (Persons Under Monitoring), and the compulsory and immediate isolation and treatment of patients.”
The Department of Health (DOH) said there are 1,546 cases of COVID-19 in the country as of Monday afternoon.
The number of patients who died from the disease has increased to 78 while recoveries remain at 42.
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