Today, April 20, the Manila Health Tek Lab, Inc. delivers the GENAMPLIFY™ Corona Virus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) rRT-PCR test kit to the University of the Philippines National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH). After completing the validation studies, this is the manufacturer’s first batch of delivery, making UP-NIH the first health facility to officially use the Pinoy-made COVID-19 test kits under the Field Implementation funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD). The Field Implementation covers 26,000 tests and the total project cost is P53.2M.


Manila Health Tek, Inc. CEO Dr. Raul Destura expressed gratitude to DOST-PCHRD for funding the production of the test kits and its delivery to the different health facilities in the country.

“As we heal as one in fighting this global pandemic, we thank DOST for its unwavering support in the production of these test kits.  We hope that we can serve more Filipinos through this endeavor and help in saving more lives against the scourge of COVID-19,” Dr. Destura said.


Destura said the GENAMPLIFY™ COVID-19 test kit has advantage against its foreign counterparts as it is packaged completely with an RNA extraction device and viral transport medium that is not found in other testing kits.


Aside from the complete testing kit package, Dr. Destura guarantees provision of full technical support from their team. Dr. Destura assured that their assistance doesn’t stop in delivering the test kits, laboratory personnel will be provided training on how to conduct the tests using the GENAMPLIFY™ COVID-19 test kit. In fact, his team already conducted training with the laboratory personnel of Philippine General Hospital, The Medical City Ortigas, Makati Medical Center and University of San Agustin, Iloilo City in collaboration with Western Visayas Medical Center and PGC Iloilo.

Destura also emphasized that GENAMPLIFY™ COVID-19 test kit can be used in any RT-PCR machine as the codes used to read the sample is open source. The complete package of the locally-made test kits inclusive of VAT costs only Php 1,828.40, almost four times cheaper compared to other kits in the international market which price may exceed Php 8,000.


Currently, Manila HealthTek's production capacity is at 6000 to 8000 tests per day, but they target to increase its capacity to produce 16,000 tests by May 1. Several institutions have availed of the GENAMPLIFY™ COVID-19 test kit including: Philippine Genome Center, Bataan General Hospital, Araneta Foundation, Office of the Vice President, and the LGUs of Iloilo, Antipolo, and Pulilan.


"We at the UP Manila NIH are overwhelmed with gratitude for the support given by DOST and the PCHRD. This is a big step for our country to show that Filipinos can be self-sufficient like the other countries in addressing this pandemic." Dr Eva Cutiongco-de la Paz, NIH Executive Director


Engaging in the research and development of biotechnology is one our country’s best investment in creating diagnostic tools,” says DOST Undersecretary for R&D Rowena Cristina L. Guevara. “Through R&D, we have the opportunity to enable our local health sector to be independent, efficient, and be given access to low-cost solutions in managing infectious diseases like COVID-19. I call on our officials and health administrators to support our Pinoy-made test kits.”

DOST Secretary Fortunato T. De la Pena congratulated the PCHRD and the Manila Health tek, Inc. spinoff for responding immediately to the pandemic and coming up with a valuable diagnostic kit.

The long wait for local test kits is over. We are glad that our very own technology is ready for distribution. With the deployment of the test kits, UP-NIH will increase its capacity to run more tests per day, as each unit of the GENAMPLIFY™ COVID-19 test kit can run 25 tests at once and provide results within two hours,” he said.




More than preparing emergency relief for their constituents, the Local Government Units (LGUs) play a crucial role in monitoring and disease surveillance of COVID-19 possible patients in their respective communities. LGUs can put in place contact tracing systems such as the TanodCOVID.

PCHRD Executive Director Dr. Jaime C. Montoya emphasized the important role of LGUs in early detection and tracing of the disease. He stressed, “LGUs can help even more through the use of TanodCOVID.  This can build a knowledge base about your locality so that prevention, management and treatment on COVID19 can be improved.”

By using TanodCOVID, people in the community will have means of reporting their symptoms to their local officials without the fear of discrimination. When used by an LGU, TanodCOVID will help the local officials and the Department of Health (DoH) in contact tracing of possible and suspected COVID-19 cases and decide on areas where mass testing must be administered. Interested LGUs should send a letter of intent to the project team to avail this service.

To use TanodCOVID, locals can send text messages to their LGU’s verified mobile number. Officials will then call concerned locals to verify the reports and ask for additional information which might help the DoH. Specifically, the TanodCOVID will enable LGUs to access report summaries, visualization, mobile numbers and addresses of those who reported symptoms. (Specific steps of reporting are discussed below).


Once TanodCOVID is adopted, Dr. Regina Estuar, Project Leader of TanodCOVID, ensures interested LGUs of their continuous technical support. She said, “We designed the system to empower locals in our strategies to prevent the spread of the infection. In turn, this will help our national agencies reduce the risk of virus transmission through strengthened contact tracing processes. Our team will help you in using TanodCOVID. Ito ang tugon ng LGU laban sa COVID19.”

DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development Rowena Cristina Guevara said, “The rapid development of research and technologies has been at the top of DOST’s priorities to fight this pandemic. With FASSSTER in place to assist our policymakers create evidence-based strategies, and TanodCOVID to engage our locals in self-reporting of symptoms for contact tracing, we are increasing our chances of saving more lives.”

Developed by Ateneo Center for Computing Competency and Research (ACCCRe) of Ateneo de Manila University in collaboration with the University of the Philippines Manila - National Telehealth Center (UP-NTHC) and the Department of Health-Epidemiology Bureau  and funded by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD), TanodCOVID is a self-reporting application included in the FASSSTER (Feasibility Analysis of Syndromic Surveillance using Spatio-Temporal Epidemiological Modeler) a web-based disease surveillance platform that uses deterministic compartmental modeling.


 
Paano magreport ng sintomas sa TanodCOVID SMS Symptom Reporting System?

 

  1. Mag-register sa serbisyo ng makapagreport ng nararamdamang sintomas at mabigyang atensyon ng inyong LGU.
  2. I-report kung alin man sa mga sintomas na ito kasama ng tirahan:

                         a. Ubo
                     b. Lagnat
                     c. Hirap sa paghinga
                     d. Nagtatae

                        Halimbawa ng text: REP J.P. Rizal, Nangka, Marikina, A, B, C, D

  3. Free of charge ang mga mensahe at ang reply sa serbisyo. Kung mag-iba ang sintomas, o kung makatanggap ng reply,    mag-text lamang muli.

 




Para magamit ang serbisyong ito, ang LGUs ay kinakailangang mag-email ng Letter of Intent sa This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

In the second installment of “Sustaining the Conversation on COVID-19: How Do We Cope? The eTURO Webinar Series on Engaging Communities and Networks (WE CaN!!)” webinar last 03 April organized by the Ateneo de Manila University - Institute of Philippine Culture (ADMU - IPC) in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD), former Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Dr. Jaime Galvez Tan explained how the COVID-19 pandemic demands a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach.

He discussed how the involvement of every sector and individual is vital in defeating the pandemic through the implementation of cross-cutting strategies such as:

  1. Implementing a national unified communication plan by targeting a change in behavior
  2. Putting in place a nationwide monitoring and evaluation system for evidence-based policy making
  3. Protecting health workers from being COVID-19 patients by providing enough supply of personal protective equipment (PPEs)
  4. Increasing COVID-19 testing centers giving priority to epicenters of COVID-19
  5. Increasing number of dedicated COVID-19 Hospitals - with designated ICU beds for COVID-19 patients who are senior citizens, those with comorbidities, severely ill and pregnant women
  6. Shifting from a hospital centric response to an LGU-led or business sector-assisted community based systems:
    • Classification of each home according to capacity for quarantine (i.e. number of rooms). Every barangay should have a COVID-19 map located in the barangay hall.
    • Classification of provinces, cities or municipalities into those: at the epicenters, with less than 50 confirmed cases of COVID-19 or those with no confirmed cases at all at present
    • Classification of citizens according to risks: comorbidities, age-bracket, socio-economic class

Covering communication strategies, local government initiatives, monitoring and evaluation systems, Dr. Galvez Tan reiterates that the current situation demands proactive and creative initiatives. “We are in extraordinary times demanding extraordinary thinking and extraordinary action,” he says.

To download Dr. Galvez Tan’s full presentation, go to this link: bit.ly/COVID19andme.

In view of the need to keep the public abreast with accurate and relevant information, the Department of Health wishes to provide the public with right information about the COVID-2019:

1. What are coronaviruses?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses causing a range of illnesses, from the common cold to more serious infections such as those caused by Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-related Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-related Coronavirus (SARS-CoV). Coronavirus can also cause a variety of diseases in farm animals and domesticated pets.

2. What are the symptoms and possible complications of a coronavirus infection?

Common signs of coronavirus infection include flu-like and respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties. In severe cases, it can cause pneumonia, acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death.

3. Where did the novel coronavirus (COVID-2019) originate?

On 31 December 2019, a clustering of pneumonia cases of unknown etiology was reported in Wuhan, China. The outbreak was later determined to be caused by a novel coronavirus (COVID-2019), a new coronavirus strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

4. How is the 2019-nCoV transmitted?

On January 24, 2020, the World Health Organization has confirmed human-to-human transmission largely in Wuhan City, China. However, there is not enough information yet to draw a definitive conclusion about the intensity of human-to-human transmission, full clinical features, and the original source of the outbreak.

Health experts are accelerating research to study the origins of the virus and how it is spreading. The virus has been differentiated from SARS and MERS, but its contagiousness and virulence is still being studied.

5. Is there a treatment and vaccine for the COVID-2019?

There is no specific treatment for any coronavirus including the COVID-2019. However, many of the symptoms can be treated based on the patient’s clinical conditions. Supportive care for infected persons can also be highly effective.

To date, there remains to be no vaccines for the new strain of coronavirus, hence, the existing Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccines (PCVs) are ineffective against COVID-2019.

6. What should you do if you are experiencing mild flu-like symptoms, but have not traveled to China recently or have not been in close contact with anyone who traveled to China?

In this case, there is no need to be tested for COVID-2019. Please consult at your nearest health facility as deemed necessary.

7. What should hospitals with suspected case/s of theCOVID-2019 do?

The designated infection control committee (ICC) of the hospital shall be responsible for the preliminary investigation of suspected cases. Once the case is classified as a person under investigation (PUI), he/she should be quarantined. The ICC should then notify the DOH Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Units (RESU), who shall then report to the DOH Epidemiology Bureau.

Hospitals with PUIs in quarantine will also send the collected specimens (oropharyngeal and nasal swabs) to Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM) for screening.

The DOH also encourages health workers to be vigilant and take extra precautionary measures when in contact with patients with acute respiratory infection, especially those with travel history to China.
Finally, all health facilities must enhance their standard infection prevention and control practices, especially in their emergency departments.

8. What can the public do to prevent the spread of COVID-2019?

DOH advises the public to:

    • Practice frequent and proper handwashing,
    • Practice proper cough etiquette
      1. Always bring a handkerchief/tissue
      2. Cover mouth and nose using handkerchief/tissue (sleeves or crook of the elbow may also be used to cover the mouth when coughing or sneezing)
      3. Move away from people when coughing
      4. Do not spit
      5. Throw away used tissues properly
      6. Always wash your hands after sneezing or coughing
      7. Use alcohol/sanitizer
      8. Avoid unprotected contact with farm or wild animals
      9. Ensure that food is well-cooked
      10. Maintain a healthy lifestyle to mount up immunity

9. Who should be immediately investigated and tested for the COVID-2019 infection?

The following should be immediately investigated and tested for nCoV:

      1. A person with severe acute respiratory infection (SARI), fever and cough, and with at least one of the following:
        1. history of travel to or lived in Wuhan in the 10-14 days prior to symptom onset;
        2. A health worker who has been working in an environment where patients with severe acute respiratory infections are being cared for, without regard to place of residence or history of travel;
      2. A person with acute respiratory infection (ARI) and fulfilling at least one of the following criteria within the 14 days prior to onset of illness: 
        1. Close contact with a confirmed or probable case
        2. visit/work in a live animal market in Wuhan
        3. Work/attend a health facility where patients with HAI-associated COVID-2019 reported.

10. Are there any travel restrictions to be observed?

There are no travel restrictions recommended as of the moment. Currently, the transmission potential and modes of transmission remain unclear. Hence, we advise those who will travel to affected areas to avoid crowded places, close contact with live or wild animals, and to observe handwashing and cough etiquette. DOH is in close coordination with the WHO and the China Center for Disease Control on developments and updates regarding travel advisories.

11. Where can the public get information about the COVID-2019?

The public can get information about the 2019-nCoV from the DOH’s and WHO’s official press releases, website, and official social media platforms. Please be wary of fake news and reports circulating online, and always verify the sources of your information.

12. What are the DOH and other concerned agencies doing to contain the situation?

The Department of Health is closely monitoring individuals who manifested signs of respiratory infection and had a history of travel to China, and is coordinating with WHO and China Center for Disease Control for updates.
DOH is also enhancing its coronavirus laboratory testing capacity, hospital preparedness, rapid response, and its risk communication and information dissemination. Personal Protective Equipment are made available at the Bureau of Quarantine, Centers for Health Development, and DOH Hospitals.

The Bureau of Quarantine, meanwhile, is working with airlines and airport authorities to strengthen border surveillance, while the Epidemiology Bureau is heightening its community surveillance.

For more updates about the Covid-19, click here.

This advisory is prompted by information received from the Department of Health. All information listed above are generated by the DoH.

The Philippine Association of Medical Journal Editors (PAMJE) Inc. with support from the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) and Asia Pacific Association of Medical Journal Editors (APAME) is organizing the 17th National Medical Writing Workshop and 10th Writeshop for Young Researchers on  30-31 March 2020 in Tacloban City. The workshop aims to help young investigators in health and health social sciences acquire practical knowledge and skills in preparing a scientific article for publication in a scholarly peer-reviewed journal. Successful applicants will be granted free workshop registration, accommodation, and meals during the workshop, and will be assigned to a mentor-facilitator who will guide them in preparing their articles for a brief presentation.


Requirements for participants

The workshop is designed for a maximum of forty (40) researchers in health sciences and health social sciences, aged 40 years old and below, who have a research project completed not more than 2 years ago and have drafted a publication-ready manuscript of maximum 2,500 - 3,000 words, formatted for submission to a scholarly biomedical journal. Note that thesis, dissertations, and technical reports in original format and length do not qualify. 

The selected draft manuscripts will be reviewed and revised during the workshop, based on the lectures and exercises, under the guidance of the faculty and mentor – facilitators. All participants are expected to present a powerpoint summary of their revised manuscripts on the second day of the workshop and agree to submit the article to an appropriate scholarly peer-reviewed journal within three (3) months after the workshop.

Instructions

Applicants should send the following requirements via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. on or before January 31, 2020.

  1. Fill out the application form. (Link: https://tinyurl.com/17NMWW2020)
  2. Conforme slip
  3. Abstract (in .docx and .pdf format)
  4. Draft of Journal Manuscript (in .docx and .pdf format) 
  5. Instructions to Authors for the target journal (This is a free document downloadable from the website of your prospective journal.)

 

Please use this subject format in your email: Application_17th Writeshop_(Surname)
Please save your documents in this format:

 

  • Conforme Slip_(Surname)
  • Abstract_(Surname)
  • Manuscript_(Surname)
  • ITA_(Surname)

 

Application deadline: January 31, 2020
REGISTRATION IS FREE (limited slots only)

The results of the selection of participants for the Workshop will be communicated on February 10, 2020.

Note:

  • Selected participants are responsible for their travel arrangements.
  • Selected participants must show their paid ticket details on or before March 9, 2020, to reserve a slot in the workshop.

 

Should you have any concern, do not hesitate to contact Ms. Christine Alayon (e-mail address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; tel. no.: (02) 8-837-7534 loc. 204). 

 

Source: http://pchrd.dost.gov.ph/index.php/news/6504-call-for-participation-17th-national-medical-writing-workshop-and-10th-writeshop-for-young-researchers

Featured Links

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