House members push for a bigger budget for DOST in 2020

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 4, 2019   •   2984

The first Philippine-made train developed by DOST that takes the PNR Tutuban-Alabang route. | Photo courtesy of DOST-Science and Technology Information Institute

Members of the House of Representatives are pushing for a bigger budget for the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in 2020.

The DOST’s budget proposal is P20.18 billion, which is P79.85 million lower than its 2019 allocation of P20.26 billion.

However, 2nd District Aklan Rep. Teodorico Haresco Jr. pushed to increase the DOST budget by at least P5 billion for all the provinces across the country.

During the budget briefing of the House Committee on Appropriations, DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said the efforts of the department has raised the country’s rank by 19 spots in the Global Innovation Index this year.

The DOST Secretary also added that several initiatives of the department has helped address the concerns of the Filipinos. These include the Anti-Dengue Program, the Malnutrition Reduction Program, the creation of Hybrid Electric Trainsets, and others.

Kabataan Party-list Rep. Sarah Elago also expressed hope for the DOST’s budget augmentation.

“I really lament that you have very meager budget…Science and technology should be our top priority,” Elago said.—AAC 

Lagundi, Tawa-Tawa herbs set for clinical trial as supplements for COVID-19 patients

Marje Pelayo   •   July 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Anti-cough herb, Lagundi, may soon be tested as a possible therapeutic supplement in the treatment of patients with coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The trial of the medicinal herb, known scientifically as vitex negundo, may start next month according to Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato dela Peña.

He added that the University of the Philippines-Manila Ethics Board has already issued clearance for such work and experts are just waiting for the approval of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The project is expected to run for five months, after which the output of the project will be given to COVID-19 patients.

Dela Peña explained that Lagundi is registered with the FDA as a therapeutic medicine for cough and respiratory infections.

It has anti-viral properties and can be used as an anti-inflammatory and antipyretic.

Siya [lagundi] ay ibibigay para ang pasyente ay magkaroon ng (it will be given to patients to provide) relief from the symptoms,” Secretary Dela Peña said.

Kasi ang usual symptoms naman ng COVID-19 includes iyong sore throat, iyong fever, iyong  ubo, at iyan ay ina-address ng lagundi. Kaya titingnan kung ano ang magiging epekto kung sila ay bibigyan niyan,” he added.

(The usual symptoms of COVID-19 include sore throat, fever and cough. These are the conditions that lagundi addresses. So we will look at the effects of lagundi on the patients.)

The Secretary also revealed that another part of their lineup for clinical trials is the tawa-tawa plant.

Meanwhile, the clinical trial on virgin coconut oil still continues and Dela Peña noted some positive results of VCO in COVID-19 patients taking it.

Doon sa mga binigyan kasi mga mild cases iyon, marami nang nakauwi doon sa mga confined,” he said.

(It was given to mild cases. Many of those who were confined had already gone home.)

Pero ang protocol dyan ay tatapusin ang pagbibigay ng VCO for 28 days kahit nakauwi na para ma-compare yung kanyang status at day zero, at day 14 and at day 28,” he concluded.

(But the protocol is to complete the intake of VCO for 28 days even after returning home in order to have a comparison of the patients’ condition from day zero, at day 14 and at day 28.) MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

DOH, DOST announce completion of Filipino-made COVID19 Test Kits

Maris Federez   •   July 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) have announced the completion of a Filipino-made coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) test kit.

The health department, along with the DOST’s Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), said they take pride in “homegrown scientists who continue to use their talent to benefit not only the Filipino people but the rest of humanity as well.”

The two agencies specifically mentioned the Manila Health Tek team “for their commitment to excellence and safety, as they worked closely with our independent laboratory expert panel in addressing key issues of version 1 of GenAmplify.”

With this, the DOH and the DOST announced that the country’s very own RT-PCR test kit, the GenAmplify version2, is finally ready for commercial use after several months of collaboration.

The two departments assured that the performance of the kit will be regularly monitored as they do with other medical products and devices.

On Filipino-made COVID19 Test Kits:We, at the DOH and DOST-PCHRD, are proud of our homegrown scientists who continue…

Posted by Department of Health (Philippines) on Sunday, 19 July 2020

As of 4 PM on July 19, 2020, the DOH reported that the total number of COVID-19 cases has reached 67,456.

A total of 2,241 confirmed cases were noted based on the total tests done by 74 out of 84 current operational labs.

DOH also announced 398 recoveries, which brings the total number of recoveries to 22,465. — /mbmf

DOST develops ‘enhanced’ nutribun

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 26, 2020

The Department of Science and Technology-Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) is formulating an enhanced nutribun (E-Nutribun) in response to the need for healthier bread.

DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said four different formulations were tested with varying quantity of ingredients. The first reformulated E-Nutribun consisted of bread flour, squash puree, sugar, skim milk, shortening, salt, bread improver and yeast.

Dela Peña said the E-Nutribun would be for the implementation of the government’s Supplementary Feeding Program during community quarantine or other similar emergencies.

The E-Nutribun is set to be launched during Nutrition Month before the end of July. AAC

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