Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go called on the Department of Health (DoH) and other concerned health agencies Sunday to utilize the COVID-19 testing kits developed by University of the Philippines (UP) scientists and not further waste limited government resources.
Go, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, reminded that the government’s decisions and policies toward overcoming the current health crisis must be based on good science and thorough research.
“I am told that the COVID-19 test kits developed by a group of UP scientists underwent rigid evaluation,” Go said.
“Given this, I appeal to the concerned agencies not to waste the time and effort placed on the development of these available testing kits by our local scientists,” he said.
Opposition senators had earlier questioned the delay in the mass production and use of the Filipino-made testing kits supposedly developed to aid the government’s fight against the pandemic.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Senators Risa Hontiveros and Francis Pangilinan noted the government is trying to ramp up its COVID-19 testing but has shunned locally manufactured, world-class P1,320 PCR test kits which are now gathering dust in laboratories due to the inaction of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.
Go said he too can vouch for the quality of the locally-made COVID-19 test kits, noting these were developed by experts from both the government and the private sector and the academe to provide a solution to the current needs of the nation.
He said even the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) conducted a thorough and highly technical validation of the UP testing kits, following the requirements and guidelines issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other health experts.
“Ito ay upang masiguro nating accurate and reliable ang testing kits na ito bago ito payagang gamitin ng pangkalahatan (And this is to ensure that these testing kits are accurate and reliable before these are distributed).”