UP's COVID-19 test kits ready for commercial use

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test kits developed by experts from the University of the Philippines (UP) are now ready for commercial use, the Department of Health (DOH) announced on Sunday, July 19. 

“After several months of collaboration, we are proud to say, GenAmplify version 2, the country’s very own RT-PCR test kit, is finally ready for commercial use,” the DOH said in a statement. 

“We appreciate the Manila Health Teak team for their commitment for excellence and safety, as they worked closely with our independent laboratory expert panel in addressing key issues of version 1 of GenAmplify,” it added. 

DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire last July 10 said that the “minor deficiencies” that were detected on the locally made test kits have already been addressed after it was ordered to be recalled last May. 

“As with other medical products and devices, performance of the kit will be regularly monitored,” the DOH said. 

The DOH, together with the Department of Science and Technology, said that they are “proud of our homegrown scientists who continue to use their talent to benefit not only the Filipino people but the rest of humanity as well.” 

Recently, senators questioned the DOH for the delay in using the Filipino made test kit for COVID-19. 

Avigan Trial

In a related development, the clinical trials for Japanese antiviral-drug Avigan in the country may already start anytime now, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on Sunday.
FDA Director General Rolando Enrique Domingo said that they already approved last July 9 the conduct of the clinical trials.

“Pwede na sila mag-start anytime. Approved na ng FDA iyon last week ,” said Domingo in an interview.

The clinical study was also reviewed and approved by the Single Joint Research Ethics Board. The trial aims to investigate the safety and efficacy of Avigan in treating coronavirus disease (COVID-19)  patients. 

Last May, Vergeire identified Sta. Ana Hospital, Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital, and Quirino Memorial Medical Center as the venue for clinical testing of Avigan. It will be tested to at least 100 patients, she added. 

Clinical trials for Avigan are also being conducted in other countries such as Japan, China, United States of America, Italy, and Russia.