Typhoon Ambo destroys DOH-CHD facility in Bicol region

Maris Federez   •   May 16, 2020   •   213

MANILA, Philippines — The Bicol Regional Diagnostic and Reference Laboratory (BRDRL) on Saturday reported the damage that its bio-safety cabinet has sustained in the onslaught of Typhoon Ambo in the region.

The BRDRL, which is operating under the Department of Health-Center for Health Development – Bicol, said the bio-safety cabinet is the machine it uses in processing the RT-PCR testing kits.

Because of this, the BRDRL will suspend accepting samples until the machine’s exhaust duct is repaired.

The 146 remaining samples that are already pending analysis in the laboratory as of Friday (May 15) will be brought to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Manila, it said.

Although the DOH has yet to determine when the BRDRL will be back to normal operation, the agency assured that they are doing everything to fix the problem and will have the machine repaired as soon as possible. — (with details from Correspondent Allan Manansala) /mbmf

IATF approves Phl participation in COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials

Maris Federez   •   May 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Upon the recommendation of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has approved the proposed participation of the Philippines in clinical trials that seek to formulate a potential vaccine against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Based on IATF Resolution No.39 dated May 22, 2020, the task force has also ordered the creation of a sub-technical working group which will be led by the DOST.

The group will be coordinating with the four collaborating organizations composed of the Department of Health (DOH), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), and the World Health Organization (WHO) with regard to the said clinical trials.

The IATF has also issued a directive to the FDA to facilitate the processing of necessary permits for the conduct of the clinical trials in the country.

The collaborating organizations for the clinical trials are the Adimmune Corporation, Academia Sinica, Chinese Academy of Science- Guangzhou Institute of Biomedicine and Health, the Sinopharm – Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, and the Beijing Institute.

Once the clinical trials are undertaken, these will be included in the FDA’s requirements for the registration process for the vaccine and the application for certificate of registration to make the vaccine available in the market.

The Philippines has initially participated in the WHO’s clinical trials, which include the testing of off-label drugs that show potential of being effective against COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the IATF has also approved the plans of the DOST to construct research centers for the local vaccine research development.

These include the Virology S&T Institute at the New Clark City in Tarlac and the reactivation of the Pharmaceutical Development Unit of the DOST-Industrial Technology Development Institute. —(from the report of Rosalie Coz) /mbmf

State of calamity declared over 9 municipalities in Eastern Samar

Marje Pelayo   •   May 19, 2020

EASTERN SAMAR, Philippines — Nine municipalities in the province have been placed under state of calamity in the aftermath of Typhoon Ambo.

These areas are:

  • Sulat
  • Taft
  • Can-avid
  • Dolores
  • Oras
  • San Policarpio
  • Arteche
  • Jipapag
  • Maslog

The declaration was based on the recommendation of Governor Ben Evardone and was approved by the Provincial Board. 

The Provincial Board also approved the release of the P60-M financial assistance to around 30,000 families in the province who did not receive subsidy from the Social Amelioration Program (SAP). 

Each of the 30,000 families will receive P2,000 cash aid, which excludes beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), Tupad and Sure Aid.

Also among those who are entitled to the P2,000 cash assistance are barangay healthcare workers, barangay tanod and barangay nutritional scholars. MNP (with inputs from Bernard Dadis)

Unpassable roads due to Typhoon Ambo isolate two worst-hit municipalities in E. Samar

Maris Federez   •   May 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The municipalities of Jipapad and Maslog remain isolated as all roads leading to them are still unpassable after the onslaught of Typhoon Ambo which caused severe flooding and fallen trees and debris scattered along the highway.

In a message received by UNTV News, Eastern Samar Governor Ben Evardone said that Jipapad and Maslog were the two worst-hit municipalities in the province by the typhoon.

“I have received reports that the flood in Jipapad reached up to the 2nd floor of houses. I’m worried about the people there, especially the elderly and children. I hope and pray that there are no casualties in the two municipalities,” said Evardone.

The governor added that the teams from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the provincial government, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have tried to penetrate all roads leading to the two municipalities but to no avail.

“We will try again today to access those towns. Electricity and communication lines to the two municipalities are cut off,” Evardone concluded. — /mbmf

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