One of the challenges in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic is the lack of test kits that will help confirm if the patient is carrying the disease.
This prompted the development of our own SARS-CoV-2 PCR detection kit called the GenAmplify COVID-19 rRT-PCR Detection Kit, which has been recently approved by the FDA and now being manufactured by Manila HealthTek, Inc. (MTek, Inc.).
Photo from Manila HealthTek Inc. Facebook page
The GenAmplify COVID-19 rRT-PCR Detection Kit was developed by UP Philippine Genome Center Deputy Director Dr. Raul V. Destura MD, MBA, FPSMID, and other scientists and researchers from the UP Manila National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) and the Philippine Genome Center (PGC). It received funding from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) through the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development.
The development and production of our test kit are vital in our combat against COVID-19 from a financial standpoint as the GenAmplify COVID-19 rRT-PCR Detection Kit will cost only around PHP 1,320 per kit (plus an average of Php2,500 for testing), in contrast to the imported kit which costs around PHP 8,500 per test. An initial order of 26,000 units are being produced now for the DOH.
Photo from Manila HealthTek Inc. website
According to its website, MTek, Inc. is located in Marikina City and has been working on finding diagnostic solutions to diseases over the last five years. The company is founded and managed by highly-trained and multi-awarded Filipino scientists and experienced partner-entrepreneurs. It’s Founder and CEO is also Dr. Raul V. Destura MD, MBA, FPSMID.
MTek, Inc.’s services include molecular diagnostic services, microbiology laboratory services, and genome testing services. It is also a partner of several hospitals and laboratories across the Philippines.
Some of its products include the Lab-In-A-Mug Biotek-M LAMP Heater, GenAmplify Dengue-ChikV RT-PCR Detection Kit, Biotek-M Dengue Aqua Kit, EasyView LED Transilluminator, ThrifTubes PCR Consumables, and most recently, the GenAmplify COVID-19 rRT-PCR Detection Kit.
On April 3, 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has officially announced the approval of the GenAmplify COVID-19 rRT-PCR Detection Kit, which is good news since the government plans to conduct mass testing by April 14, 2020. According to the Department of Health (DOH), it will prioritize vulnerable members of the population such as pregnant women, the immunocompromised, and front line health workers who have the highest exposure to the virus.
One of MTek, Inc.’s visions is to see Filipino scientists finding solutions to health problems of fellow Filipinos and beyond. The GenAmplify COVID-19 rRT-PCR Detection Kit is one of the proofs that it can be done. More importantly, it shows what Filipino scientists are capable of if given enough support. Solutions and innovations like these are precisely why certain institutions are crazy over research.