Finally, a Filipino-made COVID-19 test kit is ready for commercial use, the Department of Health said Sunday. The RT-PCR kits use swab samples and are recognized as the most conclusive way of determining infection.
The Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction test determines the presence of the coronavirus in samples taken from the nose and throat using swabs, hence the common name, swab test. It is considered the "gold standard" for screening. On the other hand, a rapid test, based on blood samples, determines whether or not a person has antibodies against the virus.
The certification from the Department of Health for Manila Health Tek could widen the availability of RT-PCR kits in the country, as officials moved to slow rising infections due to a gradual reopening of the economy. The kits were developed by scientists from the National Institutes of Health.
"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 Department of Health said on Facebook. "As with other medical products and devices, performance of the kit will be regularly monitored."
The Manila Health Tek team addressed the government's concerns with GenAmplify Version 1, the DOH said.
As of July 19, the Philippines tallied 67,456 COVID-19 cases including 1,831 deaths and 22,465 recoveries. President Rodrigo Duterte will deliver his penultimate State of the Nation Address on July 27, where he is expected to discuss the government's response to the health and economic crises spawned by the pandemic.