Duque says PH now capable of testing nCoV samples; result within 48 hours

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MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is now capable of testing samples of novel coronavirus.

So said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Wednesday as he claimed that the Philippines can now locally diagnose the 2019 novel coronavirus, or 2019 nCoV, in about 48 hours.

Research Institute for Tropical Medicine’s Japanese counterpart provided the RNA primer that would enable the Philippines to conduct confirmatory testing of the 2019 nCoV on its own.

 “The Japanese counterpart of the RITM today has just brought with them the team a primer — RNA primer — which is needed to help us identify whether the novel coronavirus suspected cases (are positive) once their throat swabs, their nasopharyngeal swabs are submitted to RITM for testing,” Duque said as he briefed congressmen during the “Question Hour” at the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

“With the RNA primer, yes, in about 48 hours, we shall be able to set up our own capability to detect novel coronavirus and no longer need to send for confirmatory testing to Melbourne, Australia.”

Duque said further that this would effectively cut the processing time in half since Australian experts would no longer need to be consulted for virus detection.

As of presstime Wednesday, the Health department is waiting for the screening results of 16 patients from the local RITM, as well as six confirmatory results from an Australia-based Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory. (IAMIGO/CPH)

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