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UP-developed COVID-19 testing kit is 6 times cheaper than foreign counterparts

The testing kit developed by the University of the Philippines has brought down the cost of tests for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

According to the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), tests using the locally developed kit will cost only P1,320.

This is more than six times cheaper than the current cost from foreign kits, which is currently pegged at P8,500.

Developed by UP scientist Dr. Raul Destura and his team, the testing kit costs P28,000 for 25 tests. It will be used alongside the RNA extraction kit which costs P10,000 for 50 reactions.

The UP testing kit just got its approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday.

The kit will be used for field testing and genome sequencing at the Philippine Genome Center (PGC).

"Around 200 kits can be manufactured in a week. [The] limiting factor will be [the] supply of raw materials but they have enough in stock for 6,000 tests now and they ordered last week for 20,000 tests," said DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña.

The scientists will be deploying 1000 tests by Friday, 2000 by next week and 3000 the week after.

The testing kit was funded by the DOST through the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD).

On Tuesday, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines rose to 33. —Angelica Y. Yang/MGP, GMA News