Turnover of COVID-19 Detection Equipment to Butuan City Medical Center Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory

As part of its initiative to aid in the COVID-19 testing in the region, DOST-Caraga, headed by Regional Director Dominga D. Mallonga, successfully installed two (2) top-of-the line equipment last July 7, 2020 at the Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory, Butuan Medical Center (BMC). The laboratory is established by the City Government of Butuan to aid faster detection of COVID-19 cases in the region and as the leading laboratory and testing center catering to the health needs of the people in the region under the new normal.

The City Government thru the BMC received one (1) unit Real Time-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) equipment and one (1) Biological Safety Cabinet Level II. The RT-PCR device will help detect and confirm the presence of the corona virus in samples. The Biological Safety Cabinet is a containment device to help prepare samples while protecting analysts and the environment from contamination and infection.

BMC’s OIC Dir. Dr. Caridad O. Burdeos-Plete (in white robe) and staff received the Bio Safety Cabinet from DOST-Caraga Regional Dir. Mallonga

The project will also roll-out the locally developed technology, GenAmplify Detection Kits. The test kit is the first to be locally manufactured in the Philippines for COVID-19 testing. It is developed by Dr. Raul Destura of the Manila HealthTek, Inc., in collaboration with the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) and UP-National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH), with the funding support from DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has certified the use of the kits while the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) issued a go signal to start the roll-out of the kits to hospitals. The project costs a total of Php 3.9Million.

Test run of the RT-PCR device with Dir. Mallonga and Dr. Plete

This effort aims to support in the epidemiological surveillance of COVID-19 cases in Caraga and achieve shorter turnaround time in acquiring results. The project is a collaboration between DOST-Caraga, City Government of Butuan, Department of Health-Caraga and the Caraga Health Research & Development Consortium (CHRDC). The City Government of Butuan thru the Butuan Medical Center and the City Health Office is a member of the Caraga Health Research and Deelopment Consortium, a body that looks into the health and health-related research and development  (R & D) efforts in the region.

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