DOST eyes mass production of locally-developed COVID-19 test kit in April

Marje Pelayo   •   March 27, 2020   •   1221

MANILA, Philippines – The field testing of the locally-developed test kit for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is in its last phase.

The test kit was invented by the Dr. Raul Destura of the University of the Philippines (UP) National Health Institute.

Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato Dela Peña, meanwhile, noted that once the field testing is done and upon the permission of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), they will proceed with the mass production.

“Ang time table namin, umaasa kasi na by April 3 mabigyan na ng product certificate of registration and then maguumpisa na yung commercial production, (Based on our time table, we are hoping that by April 3 [the FDA] would issue a product certificate of registration so we can proceed to commercial production),” Secretary Dela Peña said.

The DOST will prioritize production of 26,000 test kits to be distributed to the Philippine General Hospital, Makati Medical Center, The Medical City, Baguio General Hospital, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center and the Southern Philippines Medical Center.

Meanwhile, the remaining units from the total of 120,000 test kits will be sold commercially at around P1,300 per kit which is cheaper than the units currently being used in hospitals which cost about P8,000.

Tests using the Filipino-brand COVID-19 test kits will take only about one and a half hour including the results. MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

Philippines’ Covid tally up by 6,959

Marje Pelayo   •   June 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) logged an additional 6,959 new cases to the country’s Covid-19 count and raising the tally to  1,353,220 on Saturday (June 19).

The latest figure pushes the total number of active cases to 59,439.

Meanwhile, 9,407 individuals have recovered from the virus. This brings the total number of recoveries since the pandemic began to 1,270, 243.

The coronavirus-related deaths also rose to  23,538 with  153 new fatalities.

The DOH noted that the current active cases is only 4.4% of the total positive cases recorded since the pandemic.

Based on the latest report, all DOH laboratories are fully operational since June 17, 2021 and only six laboratories have not yet forwarded their respective data to the agency’s COVID-19 Document Repository System (CDRS).

These six laboratories comprise about 3.5% of the overall samples tested and 3.9% of the total number of COVID positive individuals.

Expert still recommends use of face shield vs COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   June 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — An infectious disease specialist and government adviser still recommends the use of face shields even in open-air settings due to the continuous threat of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and its highly contagious variants.

Dr. Edsel Salvana of the Department of Health (DOH) Technical Advisory Group said on Friday that he would still insist on the use of a face shield as it offers a layer of protection against COVID-19 variants, particularly the Delta and Alpha variants.

Citing several studies, Salvana said the Delta variant, which first emerged in India, is up to four times more transmissible than the original coronavirus and the Alpha variant.

“Sa pag-aaral, ang Delta variant is 60 percent more transmissible than Alpha, ano ba yung Alpha? Ang Alpha yun yung UK variant, which is already 60 percent more transmissible than the original virus. So 60 percent plus 60 percent pa so halos four times po ang pwedeng maging increased transmissibility nito,” he said during the Laging Handa public briefing.

He added that preliminary data also show that the Delta variant is about 40 percent more contagious even in outdoor settings.

“So para sa akin, kahit pa sabihin nila na hindi na required ang face shield lalo na with the threat of this Delta variant, gagamit pa rin talaga ako ng face shield, I will recommend it because it is an extra layer of protection,” he said.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Thursday said the existing policy on the use of face shields against COVID-19 will remain in effect pending the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte on the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force to continue the use of face shields in enclosed or indoor spaces.

These spaces include hospitals, schools, workplaces, commercial establishments such as but not limited to food establishments, malls and public markets, public transport and terminals, and places of worship.

The task force met on Thursday afternoon to discuss the policy on the use of face shields after some senators shared their conversation with Duterte in Malacañang about the limited use of face shields.

Salvana said that should the president decide to remove or limit the use of face shields, he would still wear one as protection against coronavirus variants.

“Hindi ko pipilitin kung ayaw nyong gumamit ng face shield o kung tanggailn yung mandate but I still strongly recommend it lalo na with the threat of the variants. I, myself, when I’m interacting with other people, I will use this face shield po,” he said.

Expert stresses importance of testing on 7th day, 14-day quarantine vs COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   June 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – An infectious disease expert and government adviser has underscored the importance of strictly implementing the mandated testing and quarantine protocols to curb the spread of COVID-19 and its highly transmissible variants in the country.

Dr. Edsel Salvana of the Department of Health (DOH) Technical Advisory Group on Friday said existing protocol requiring returning travelers to the Philippines to undergo a 14-day quarantine period will help stop the entry of more contagious variants, particularly the Delta variant first detected in India.

He said the 14-day quarantine protocol should be coupled with the administration of the RT-PCR test on the seventh day of the quarantine to show an accurate result.

Of the 14 days, travelers are required to spend 10 days in a government facility while the remaining 4 days will be completed at home.

“Ito po ang pamamaraan na kahit may makalusot, kahit mag-false negative pa man yung test, hindi na nakakahawa by the time na matapos ang 14 days na to, mababa na po yung chance na meron pang natitirang virus kahit ma-miss ng tests natin,” Salvana said during the Laging Handa public briefing.

“According to the experts po ng Technical Advisory Group, tiningnan po namin yung datos sa Centers for Disease Control, ang pinaka-safe po talaga na minimum is 10 days facility-based quarantine, followed by 4 days quarantine at home. Hindi na po pwedeng iksian yun, unless ito ngayong pinag-uusapan if vaccinated na po yung traveler,” he added.

Salvana also stressed that the testing should be done on the seventh day because testing a traveler who is newly infected with COVID-19 upon his or her arrival in the Philippines will not show a COVID-19 positive result.

“Sa pag-aaral ng Centers for Disease Control, nakikita po nila na kapag ang isang tao ay nahawaan ng COVID on the day of travel tapos dumating po siya, kung tinest mo yun on arrival, ang tiyansa na mag-positive yung test na yun ay zero percent po kasi kakahawa lang niya,” he said.

“Tapos mananatili po siyang nakakahawa up to 10 days,” he added.

He, however, noted that the viral load on the said individual goes down to 2.4 percent by the 10th day, which lowers the chance of the person transmitting the virus to others.

“Para mawala lalo yung 2% na yun, ina-advise pa rin po natin yung 4 days na home quarantine para tuluyang ligtas po talaga,” he said.

He also said that while the country’s existing travel restrictions for travelers from India and other nations help in controlling the spread of the COVID-10 Delta variant, the stringent implementation of minimum public health standards, including quarantine protocols, is still necessary to break the chain of transmission.

The Philippines has so far recorded 13 cases of Delta variant, one of which has died.

REACH US

The Philippine Broadcast Hub

UNTV, 915 Barangay Philam,

EDSA, Quezon City M.M. 1104

(+632) 8396-8688 (Tel)

info@untv-newsandrescue.com (General inquiries)

ABOUT UNTV

UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.