PH acquires confirmatory test kits for novel coronavirus

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 29) — The processing time for identifying if a patient is positive for the deadly novel coronavirus will be shorter, thanks to the confirmatory test kits that have arrived in the country.

The Department of Health on Wednesday announced the test kits or "primers" ordered by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) will be used starting this week.

Currently, RITM in Muntinlupa screens samples from suspected cases of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) to check if they are positive for “non-specific pancoronavirus assay.” If it's positive, the DOH sends their test samples to the Victorian Infectious Disease Reference in Australia to confirm if the patient is positive for 2019-nCoV.

The process of testing samples in Australia takes 24 hours, excluding the travel time from the Philippines to Australia.

"They are now setting up the lab for this. Once the laboratory is set up in 48 hours, they will be able to start running the tests for the 2019 novel coronavirus here in the Philippines," Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo said in a media briefing.

There are pending confirmatory tests in Australia. The Health Department expects the results of six patients by Thursday or Friday. This is the last batch that will be sent to Australia for confirmatory testing.

There are no confirmed cases of the deadly coronavirus in the Philippines. Twenty-three people are now under investigation in local health facilities for 2019-nCoV, with four people having been released earlier.