Palace ready to boost funding for production of more COVID-2019 test kits

Published March 15, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Genalyn Kabiling

In line with government’s battle against the coronavirus outbreak, President Duterte is ready to augment the funds needed for the intensified production of medical test kits for the disease, Malacañang announced Sunday.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo and Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato dela Peña have assured the sufficiency of funds for the coronavirus testing kits, dispelling speculations about the alleged shortage of resources.

“We wish to assure our countrymen that the Office of the President is providing the needed funds of the DOH (Department of Health), DOST (Department of Science and Technology) and UP (University of the Philippines) Manila’s National Institutes of Health in the production of the diagnostic kits for the COVID 19 tests,” the two officials said in a statement.

“Sufficient funds are available,” they added.

Manila Healthtek is also prepared to produce “bigger quantities” of the testing kits required to respond to the present crisis, in addition to its current inventory once the imported raw materials arrive, according to the two Cabinet officials.

The private biotechnology company has manufactured the coronavirus detection kits developed by local scientists. The kit will reportedly costs only around P1,320 per test, compared to the foreign test kits that cost P8,500.

The DOST is also not part of the call by some groups for donations for access to test kits, according to the two Cabinet officials.

Donations from the private sector, however, will be welcomed by the government.