DOST-PCHRD funds AdMU study to validate rapid, simple COVID-19 testing technology

Published November 12, 2021, 9:32 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) is supporting a 14 month-long project seeking to validate a rapid, simple and efficient isothermal coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing technology.

(Photo by Mufid Majnun on Unsplash)

This was disclosed by DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña during his weekly report on Friday, Nov. 12.

He said the project is led by Marie Jennifer Reolo of the Ateneo de Manila University-Research Institute of Science and Engineering (AdMU-RISE).

“The pilot clinical testing has begun with the samples collected from BlueSwab (ADMU COVID-19 Testing Facility) with the first prototype assay showing evidence of SARS-CoV-2 detection from COVID-19 positive patients,” the DOST chief said.

“The assay requires optimization and refinement to further improve its sensitivity most especially that the experiment is transitioning from contrived samples (saliva spiked with gamma-irradiated virus particles) to bona fide human saliva samples,” he added.

DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara said the DOST funded the AdMU study entitled,”SWIFTeR: A focused study to validate a rapid, simple, and efficient isothermal COVID-19 testing technology” in a bid to further achieve a much wider deployment of COVID testing throughout the Philippines.

“The project is expected to produce COVID-19 test methods that are much lower in cost, easy to perform, and applicable as point-of-care diagnostics,” she told the Manila Bulletin in a Viber message.