The test kits for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) developed by local scientists at the University of the Philippines (UP) can yield results in less than two hours, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on Wednesday.
In an interview, FDA Director-General Eric Domingo said that the country is currently using a testing tool from Japan that has a running time of 24 hours.
On Tuesday, FDA said it issued a “certificate of exemption” to the testing kits in order to be “used for field testing coupled with gene sequencing at the Philippine Genome Center.”
Domingo said that the kits “will provide our laboratories with technological reinforcement to accommodate the growing number of patients to be tested and aid in early screening of positive cases” and “will provide greater access to a less costly diagnostic procedure.”
“The FDA maintains its mandate in ensuring the safety and efficacy of products and devices to protect public health, and commits to cooperate with all agencies in ensuring a prompt response to this global crisis,” Domingo said.
Domingo then warned the public against buying unauthorized testing kits, saying that only the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) and UP have testing centers for COVID-19 in the country.
On Tuesday, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said COVID-19 tests in hospitals would now be covered by Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).