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UP National Institutes of Health develops test kit for novel coronavirus

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A scientist at University of the Philippines National Institutes of Health on Tuesday announced that it has developed a test kit for the novel coronavirus.

Clinician Raul Destura, told a Senate inquiry on the nCoV, that the test kits will be released next week to the Department of Health for its evaluation.

“This was developed two weeks ago immediately after they released the whole genome sequence of the virus," Destura said.

"Hopefully by next week, it would be ready for the DOH to verify and validate before they give their recommendation for use in the country,” he added.

Test kits are rapid diagnostic tests that can detect viruses, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.

At present, the DOH is making use of primers from Japan for confirmatory tests since test kits are not yet available in the market.

“Itong ginagamit natin is a chemical na pinadala po sa atin, RNA primer. So it’s like a code that more or less it will guide you to identify. This is exactly the virus that’s similar to the one in Wuhan,” Duque said.

WHO Country Representative Rabindra Abeyasinghe said they were working with several research groups to create rapid diagnostic test kits.

“The assessments of the test kits will not be completed for about another week to 10 days, after which we have agreed that we will provide test kits to the Philippines and other member states at risk,” Abeyasinghe said. —NB, GMA News

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