The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) announced Friday, Oct. 8, the development of test kits for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Central Luzon.
DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña said the project was funded by DOST-III in response to the government’s call to produce locally-developed and affordable diagnostic kits that can effectively detect the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV- 2) which causes COVID-19.
The research team from the Angeles University Foundation Center for Advanced Research and Innovation (AUF-CARI) was behind the development of the COVID-19 test kits.
“A number of promising test kits were developed by the AUF-CARI research team in the laboratory. One of these kits uses blood samples (COVID-19 IgM and IgG Capture Enzyme Immunoassay) to detect an individual’s immune response against the virus,” he said on the DOSTv Facebook page on Friday.
He explained that the test can be used to distinguish early exposure and past exposure to the SARS-CoV- 2 virus, and to test if the immune system responded to a COVID-19 vaccine.
The DOST chief said the team likewise produced saliva-based test kits—COVID-19 Salivary Antigen Test Kit and COVID-19 Saliva IgA Test Kit.
“In addition, saliva-based test kits were also produced that can detect both SARS-CoV antigen (COVID-19 Salivary Antigen Test Kit) and antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 Saliva IgA Test Kit) in the saliva of individuals being tested for the disease,” he said.
He noted that the saliva-based tests can detect active infection and recent exposure to the virus.
“Furthermore, use of saliva-based testing is more advantageous than the current sample collection process for COVID-19 testing since saliva is easier to collect and it also eliminates the risks associated with swabbing.”
He said the test kits underwent clinical validation and were found to be 90 percent accurate.
“The locally developed COVID-19 test kits were validated clinically during the research and development stage resulting in a very satisfactory accuracy of at least 90 percent,” de la Peña said.
“These tests when commercialized locally can significantly contribute to the government’s goal on early detection in dealing COVID-19.”