Mar 12, 2020

The test kits developed by the University of the Philippines National Institute of Health (UPNIH) that were recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are expected to be used for confirming COVID-19 cases starting  Monday, Mar. 16.  

Last Tuesday, Mar. 10,  FDA released a certificate of exception for the testing kits developed by scientists from UP Manila to formally be used to test for possible cases of COVID-19 in  the country. 

Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 crisis as a pandemic. As of writing, the Philippines has 49 confirmed COVID-19 cases which have significantly increased within the past couple of days and already has two cases of fatality among them. 

According to reports, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)-funded detection kits can release confirmatory results in just two hours, thus the decision to utilize it to help speed up the process and range of testing for the infectious disease. 

UPNIH testing kits for COVID-19 set to be used starting next week
Photo courtesy of

At the same time, the kits will also reduce funds to be spent on it as each UPNH testing kits are estimated to cost  around P1,320 as opposed to foreign extraction kits priced at P8,500. “[The kits] will provide our laboratories with technological reinforcement to accommodate the growing number of patients to be tested and aid in early screening of positive cases and will provide greater access to a less costly diagnostic procedure,” says Domingo in an earlier statement. 

FDA Director-General Dr. Eric Domingo says that “The commitment [of the UPNIH] is to start it within a week. So the target is Monday next week, and they are committed to 1,000 tests a week,” Inquirer reports. This is because the UP facility is limited and could only accommodate a few tests per week. 

In addition, they will also prioritize testing a select number of PUIs who exhibit  “flu-like symptoms, exposure to COVID-19 positive individuals and travel history to affected countries with local transmission.” This announcement is issued roughly after President Rodrigo Duterte declared a public health emergency over the threat of the disease.




Header photo by CDC on Unsplash

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TAGS: covid-19 department of foreign affairs DFA ncov ncov2019 novel coronavirus scientists testing kits university of the philippines UP