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Bong Go urges agencies to use UP-developed COVID-19 test kits

Senate Committee on Health chair Senator Bong Go on Sunday called on concerned government agencies to utilize the testing kits developed by the University of the Philippines.

“I appeal to the concerned agencies not to waste the time and effort placed on the development of these available testing kits by our local scientists,” he said in a statement.

“Kung nasiguro nang mabisa ito matapos dumaan sa validation, gamitin na natin ito para mapaigting pa ang kakayahan nating mag Test, Trace and Treat,” he added.

On Saturday, other senators also urged the Department of Health (DOH) to use the testing kit as the country aims to test more individuals for the novel coronavirus.

Senate Minority Leader Frank Drilon, and Senators Risa Hontiveros and Kiko Pangilinan said in a joint statement that the UP test kits’ cost was a fraction of other test kits from China and Korea.

"Developed by the UP-National Institute for Health and funded by the DoST, the Filipino test kit continues to face hurdles even as imported brands coming from China and Korea, costing more than double at between P4,000 and P8,000, enter the country without difficulty," they said.

"What seems to be holding Secretary Duque and the DOH back from giving the go-signal for the use and mass production of this Filipino-made, quality yet less expensive test kit? May kumikita ba sa mas mahal na imported test kit?" they asked.

GMA News Online has sought comment from the DOH, but the department had not replied as of posting time.

The test kit, which was first announced by scientist Dr. Raul Destura in February, had been approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration— DVM, GMA News