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Rapid test kits for rabies introduced in Philippines

Rapid test kits for rabies were recently introduced in the Philippines to ensure early detection of the deadly virus in high-risk areas, Japan’s aid agency said Thursday.

In a press statement, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) said the Immunochromatographic Test Kit (ICT kit) for rabies “supports easy, fast, and accurate diagnosis of the disease.”

“Rabies diagnosis takes about two to three hours with the use of a microscope and an incubator in normal circumstances. With the new ICT kits, diagnosis is radically sped up to 20-30 minutes without the use of said equipment, accelerating detection and start of treatment,” the statement said.

The ICT kit was developed by Dr. Nishizono of Oita University and Japanese pharmaceutical company ADTEC under a technical cooperation between JICA and the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Animal Industry (DA-BAI).

“JICA vows to support the rabies prevention and control program in the Philippines for the next two years by providing said ICT kits for evaluation and provide necessary trainings to all regional animal diagnostic laboratories nationwide,” it said.

Aside from the ICT kits, the project has also developed the Rabies Data Share System (RaDSS), which will help in contact tracing and ring-vaccinations by sharing data of rabid animals between the veterinary agencies.

Rabies is responsible for the death of 200-250 Filipinos every year and at least one third of human rabies deaths are among children less than 15 years of age, JICA said, citing the Department of Health.  — Jiselle Anne Casucian/VBL, GMA News