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DOST seeks production of 26,000 COVID-19 test kits, 500,000 masks

Attached agencies to the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) were seeing to the production of 26,000 coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) test kits and 500,000 face masks as infections across the country rose to 187.

According to DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña's Tuesday Facebook post, the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) was ensuring the timely services of the production of the locally-developed COVID-19 diagnostic test kits.

The PCHRD planned to make available 26,000 more kits, and "additional quantities as would be needed by the Department of Health (DOH)."

The PCHRD would also be responsible for ensuring the timely services of the Ateneo de Manila University's modeling tool using the App FASSSTER in predicting the duration of the COVID-19 threat; and the testing of Philippine Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) for anti-COVID-19-virus properties.

The attached agency had also been tasked to ask foreign bilateral partners in setting up clinical trials for the vaccines and drugs they developed in their respective research and development centers.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI) would cooperate with the Taytay LGU and private sector to produce up to 500,000 reusable face masks.

These face masks, which can be used up to 50 times, would feature a special textile-coating technology developed by the PTRI, and local fiber textiles.

The Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) was set to produce processed food packs in limited capacities.

"It will also make available immediately 15,000 packs of RTE Arrozcaldo Chicken and 3,000 packs of Rice Meal for distribution in regions," said Dela Peña.

On the other hand, the Food and Nutrition and Research Institute (FNRI) said it could provide complimentary food for babies and kids.

The Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) said that they could use their new satellite technology to provide useful data such as the movement of people in an area.

"DOST-ASTI will also accelerate its research in developing a small thermal camera that can be attached to smartphones to be used as temperature scanner," said the secretary.

For the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI), the attached agency could offer sterilization services for medical devices using e-beam technology.

The Metals Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC) said that it had ready-made designs for evacuation tents, hospital beds and a crushing machines for vials.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) pledged to make available unused masks that were prepared during the Taal Eruption.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) would continue forecasting the weather around the clock.

The Science Education Institute (SEI) had installed online application systems for science scholarships.

"It will also process the giving of scholars’ allowance in advance for their ATMs," said Dela Peña.

The Philippine Science High School System (PSHS), along with all of its 16 regional campuses in the country, had shifted to e-learning methods and materials.

The DOST official also announced that the repayment system for production technology equipment would be "restructured for two months’ deferment without interest penalty."

"Critical testing and laboratory services will continue," he wrote.

As of Monday, the number of COVID-19 cases in the country rose to 187 after the Health Department confirmed 45 new infections. There has been a total of 12 deaths, and 4 recoveries in the Philippines. — Angelica Y. Yang/DVM, GMA News