UP-NIH begins mass distribution of Pinoy-made COVID-19 test kits that can yield results within 2 hours

| Written by Padayon UP

The Manila Health Tek Lab, Inc. has delivered the locally-made coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) test to the University of the Philippines National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH).

UP-NIH is the first health facility to use the GENAMPLIFY™ COVID-19 rRT-PCR test kit under the Field Implementation which was funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD).

According to DOST press release, the Field Implementation covers 26,000 tests. The total project costs P53.2 million.

DOST Secretary Fortunato De la Pena said the distribution of these test kits will allow UP-NIH to increase its capacity to run more tests daily, as it can run 25 tests at once and can yield results within two hours.

“The long wait for local test kits is over. We are glad that our very own technology is ready for distribution. With the deployment of the test kits, UP-NIH will increase its capacity to run more tests per day, as each unit of the GENAMPLIFY™ COVID-19 test kit can run 25 tests at once and provide results within two hours,” De la Pena said in the statement.

Manila Health Tek, Inc. CEO Dr. Raul Destura said GENAMPLIFY™ COVID-19 test kit has an advantage compared to its foreign counterparts.

“It is packaged completely with an RNA extraction device and viral transport medium that is not found in other testing kits,” the press statement read.

Destura said the test kit can also be “used in any RT-PCR machine as the codes used to read the sample is open source.”

The press statement said a whole complete test kit package costs P1,824.40 inclusive of VAT, making it four times cheaper than kits in the international market, which is priced at approximately P8,000.

Apart from delivering the test kits, Destura is also said they will guarantee provision of technical support from their team, as well as train laboratory personnel on how to conduct tests using the COVID-19 test kits.

Destura’s team has already conducted training to lab personnels from Philippine General Hospital, The Medical City Ortigas, Makati Medical Center, and University of San Agustin, Iloilo City, in collaboration with Western Visayas Medical Center and PGC Iloilo.

Manila HealthTek’s production capacity is at 6,000 to 8,000 tests per day but they are targetting to increase its capacity to produce 16,000 tests by May 1.

Other institutions who have availed the test kits include Philippine Genome Center, Bataan General Hospital, Araneta Foundation, Office of the Vice President, and the LGUs of Iloilo, Antipolo, and Pulilan. — Jannielyn Ann Bigtas/LA, GMA News

(This was originally posted on the GMA News Online official website on April 20, 2020)