FDA approves first locally-made COVID-19 test kits

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 3) – The Food and Drug Administration approved on Friday the first locally-made COVID-19 test kits.

The test kits are made by scientists from the University of the Philippines-National Institute of Health, through its research and development firm Manila HealthTek, Inc.

The Department of Science and Technology funded the project of the country’s first local-made test kits, which is based from real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method.

The test kits were previously approved by FDA for field trial and gene sequencing last March 10.

Upon the company’s submission of necessary requirements Friday, the FDA issued a certification for these COVID-19 test kits to be allowed for commercial use.

Senator Joel Villanueva, chairman of the Senate Higher and Technical and Vocational Education Committee, lauded the FDA’s approval of the test kits and thanked the premier state university for its initiative in creating this tool.

“With this development, we can expand our testing capability, identify and treat patients with dispatch," Villanueva said. "This breakthrough in our country's fight against COVID-19 underscores the value we put into research initiatives of our state universities and colleges."

The FDA also approved an additional COVID-19 test kit Friday, as it brings the total number of approved test kits to 30.

To date, the country has 3,018 confirmed COVID-19 cases, along with 136 deaths and 52 recoveries, according to the Department of Health.