DA allots P80 M to develop locally-made ASF test kits

Published January 25, 2021, 11:54 AM

by Richa Noriega

The Department of Agriculture (DA) has allotted P80 million for the development and production of locally made test kits that can detect the African Swine Fever (ASF).


The Central Luzon State University (CLSU), in partnership with the DA Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), developed the ASF rapid test kit, called ASFV Nanogold Biosensor.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said part of the P80-million budget for the BABay ASF program will be provided by the DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) to augment the mass production of test kits in partnership with other interested private firms and State Universities and Colleges (SUCs).

“With this development, the DA-BAI personnel and LGU veterinarians can now administer the kit for biosecurity measures, profiling of farms for repopulation, and surveillance and monitoring activities, at a much faster rate right at the so-called Ground Zero and more economical,” Dar said in a statement Saturday.

“We can even have these test kits on standby at the port of entries for a quick sampling of the meat products entering the country,” he added.

The DA said the rapid test kits utilize nucleic acid-based test. It has a built-in DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) extraction and molecular amplification process that utilizes primers or markers, whose gene sequence was designed from the P72 gene of the ASF virus isolated from the province of Rizal, it added.

The Department said the test kit can detect the presence of ASF even through surface swabbing of pig barns and delivery trucks, saliva, and nasal swabs, feces, water, semen, feeds, aspirated whole blood, or blood-soaked swabs, and even domestic flies.

The ASF test kit costs P3,500, good for 10 samples or P350 per sample, the Department said.

Each sample can be a pool of five surface swabs, saliva, or feces as long as these come from the same pen or farm for traceability. The cost is simply P70 per sample, it added.

The DA said it was also tested in 32 commercial and nine backyard farms in Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, Pampanga, Tarlac, Pangasinan, and Nueva Ecija.

“Preliminary results showed high accuracy and detection rate using the test kits. For its part, the DA-BAI offers free ASF testing, while private laboratories charge about P3,000 per test,” the Department added.