Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) spokesperson Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles announced that the government has allocated P57.2 million for the production of locally-produced COVID-19 test kits that were developed by the University of the Philippines (UP)-National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Manila HealthTek Inc., saying in a press briefing on Tuesday that field validation of the said kits has already been completed and will be rolled out by April 4.
“While government works to fully equip our health workers it is at the same time ramping up efforts to secure and produce more testing kits so we can test more people and quickly identify and isolate those that have been infected,” said the Palace official, who explained that under Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, the President is authorized to expedite and streamline the accreditation of test kits.
“From April 4 to 25 we expect field implementation of the same in several facilities.”
According to Nograles, “in line with this, the Department of Science and Technology allocated 53.2 million pesos for the GenAmplifyTM CoronaVirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) rRT-PCR Detection Kit that is being locally developed by the UP-NIH and Manila HealthTek Inc.”
“The field validation for these locally-produced COVID-19 testing kits is expected to be finished by today, and from April 4 to 25 we expect field implementation of the same in several facilities,” said Nograles.
Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato dela Peña earlier announced that the initial production of 26,000 test kits for field implementation would be prioritized and distributed to the Philippine General Hospital, Makati Medical Center, The Medical City, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, Southern Philippines Medical Center, and Baguio General Hospital.
The DOST chief also said the field implementation of the 26,000 testing kits would be held from April 4 to 25.
A total of 120,000 test kits will be manufactured by Manila HealthTek Inc., further boosting the country’s COVID-19 testing capacity.
Aside from this initiative, Nograles also lauded efforts by the DOST to augment the supplies of PPEs for health workers at the frontlines.
“Bukod sa pagsusupply ng PPEs, gumagawa din tayo ng paraan upang ma-maximize ang mga kagamitan ng ating mga frontliners. The Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Textile Research Institute, for example, is spearheading the production of 500,000 re-useable, washable, and re-wearable facial masks as protective face wear.”