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120,000 UP-developed COVID-19 test kits available starting this weekend —DOST

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) on Monday announced that at least 120,000 locally-developed test kits for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) will be available starting Saturday.

In a statement, DOST said the Manila HealthTek Inc. will manufacture 120,000 test kits as the first batch of reagents arrived, which will enable them to start the manufacturing process.

DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said they will prioritize the production of 26,000 test kits for field implementation and distribution to certain hospitals that can do the testing.

“From April 4 (Saturday) to 25, there will be a field implementation for the 26,000 testing kits funded under the DOST and the University of the Philippines-National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) Project,” he said.

These hospitals are Philippine General Hospital, Makati Medical Center, The Medical City, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, Southern Philippines Medical Center, and Baguio General Hospital.

“The remaining 94,000 testing kits will be sold commercially by Manila HealthTek at around P1,300 per kit, which is cheaper than the units currently being used in hospitals which cost about P8,000,” he said.

According to De la Peña, the Manila HealthTek said they have enough orders from the private sector who intend to donate them in turn to the Department of Health (Philippines) and hospitals.

The field validation for the COVID-19 testing kits is ongoing and is expected to be finished by Wednesday, De la Peña said.

“We have informed the FDA that requirements for CPR Certification will be submitted on Wednesday, April 1 at the latest,” he said.

He added that the issuance of the Certificate of Product Registration (CPR) from the Food and Drug Administration Philippines (FDA) is expected on Friday, April 3. --Joviland Rita/KBK, GMA News