By Gabriela Baron
A scientist at the University of the Philippines National Institute of Health announced that he has developed a test kit for the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
The test kit, to be released next week for evaluation by the Department of Health (DOH), could help the health department detect more cases of the virus faster.
“This was developed two weeks ago, immediately after they released the whole genome sequence of the virus,” clinician Raul Destura said in a Senate inquiry on Tuesday.
At present, the DOH is using primers from Japan for confirmatory tests since test kits are not available on the market yet.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) said it is working with research groups both inside and outside China for the creation of rapid diagnostic test kits.
At least 490 people have died and over 24,000 people have been infected of the 2019-nCoV worldwide.
DOH on Wednesday confirmed the third case of the virus in the Philippines, involving a 60-year old Chinese woman.