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If you see a COVID-19 testing kit, thank these scientists from UP

If you see a COVID-19 testing kit, thank these scientists from UP

When conservative folks think about our iskos and iskas, their brain automatically connotes “puro tibak” and #ralliespamore. They use them as derogatory phrases as though protesters and rallyists aren’t active agents for change. And they’re not above using these phrases to demean the alma mater University of the Philippines (UP) either.

But the next time they do so, they should think twice—especially when getting tested for COVID-19. The scientists who developed the testing kits for the virus are from UP after all. 

This Mar. 10, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved using a coronavirus testing kit developed by scientists from UP Manila. The agency announced they have released a certificate of exception, giving these detection kits by the UP-National Institute of Health to be used for field testing at the Philippine Genome Center. 

The detection kit for COVID-19 developed by our UP scientists back in February has now been approved by FDA to be used…

Posted by UP Office of the Student Regent on Monday, March 9, 2020

“The FDA maintains its mandate in ensuring the safety and efficacy of products and devices to protect public health, and commits to cooperate with all agencies in ensuring a prompt response to this global crisis,” reads FDA’s online statement. The World Health Organization (WHO) also stated that these testing kits yield accurate results under two hours. Right now, we have 4,500 testing kits and we will receive 2,000 more. 

According to the director of the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Dr. Raul Destura, these UP scientists came up with the kits after WHO released COVID-19’s genome sequence. “[The kits] will provide our laboratories with technological reinforcement to accommodate the growing number of patients to be tested and aid in early screening of positive cases and will provide greater access to a less costly diagnostic procedure”, says FDA Director-General Eric Domingo in a statement.

Read more: Your phone can carry coronavirus for 9 days. Here’s how to disinfect it

So when you get tested for COVID-19 for cheaps, thank the folks from UP. Think about that before uttering the words: “Yan kasi, puro rallies ang inaatupag.”

Art by Rogin Losa

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