Gordon asks: Why can't DOST research on reagents for COVID-19 tests, saliva testing? | Inquirer News

Gordon asks: Why can’t DOST research on reagents for COVID-19 tests, saliva testing?

/ 10:40 AM December 02, 2020
HEARING ON FIXED TERMS FOR AFP KEY OFFICERS: Sen. Richard Gordon presides over a virtual public hearing on Senate Bill No. 1785 entitled Prescribing the Fixed Terms for the Chief-of-Staff and other Key Officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Thursday, October 8, 2020. The measure seeks to prescribe fixed terms for key officers, increase the age of compulsory retirement for military personnel and enhance the promotion and attrition system in the AFP. (Screen grab/Senate PRIB)

Sen. Richard Gordon. Screen grab / Senate PRIB file photo

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Richard Gordon said the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) should research reagents to be used for COVID-19 testing and look into the accuracy of saliva-based tests so the country would no longer need to source test kits from other nations.

According to Gordon, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) previously had to source thousands of test kits from China, which had a total price tag of $5 million.


“My question is, why can’t DOST copy the reagents? We should be doing that. Kopyahin natin yung reagents, baka naman magawa natin dito baka mas mura. Baka yung mga test kits, yung mga swab baka magawa na natin ‘yan,” Gordon, who also chairs the PRC, said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel on Wednesday.

(My question is, why can’t DOST copy the reagents? Let’s copy the reagents, maybe we can do it here, and at a cheaper price. The test kits, the swab tests, maybe we can produce it here.)


“I want them to research, why can’t we do a simple thing as reagents? I mean we should be able to track down the content of that. China does that very well, they do a lot of intelligence gathering from the United States. Japan did that before and they’re very eclectic, they take from little countries and especially the developed countries and they bring it back and they say it’s ‘Made in China.’ Why are we not doing that?” he added.

The senator also urged the DOST to conduct  research on the accuracy of saliva-based tests for COVID-19.

“Bakit hindi natin ginagamit yang DOST sa research? Bakit ‘di nakikita yung saliva test, bakit kami (PRC) pa yung magi-initiate ng saliva test,” Gordon said.

(Why are we not using the DOST for research? Why can’t we look at the saliva test, why are we the ones initiating it?)

“We really have to be constantly active in terms of looking for solutions for our health problems in this country. For example, there’s a vaccine now, what are we gonna do? I need advice on that because we are going to have to help in terms of—if they want us—we’ll vaccinate. We’re preparing for that,” he added.

The PRC earlier launched trials to test the efficacy of saliva tests, which it deems as a cheaper and faster alternative compared to swab tests in tracing the coronavirus.

The organization has already submitted to the Department of Health the results of the tests it conducted to assess the accuracy of saliva tests in detecting the coronavirus, Food and Drug Administration director-general Eric Domingo said last Oct. 23 in a television interview.

According to Domingo, PRC is awaiting the approval of the DOH before saliva tests for COVID-19 can be institutionalized.


For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
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TAGS: COVID-19, DOST, Nation, News, reagents, Research, saliva testing, Senator Richard Gordon
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