Local PCR test kit to detect ASF show promising results
A testing platform for African Swine Fever (ASF) is showing promising results in an ongoing field implementation by Manila Healthtek, Inc.
Field implementation for the molecular-based testing platform GenAmplify African Swine Fever PCR Detection Kit is being conducted in select animal diseases diagnostic laboratories to validate the product’s performance and understand the gaps before its actual roll-out in the market.
These are conducted in three animal disease diagnostic laboratories under the Bureau of Animal Industry in Tarlac City, General Santos City, and Tuguegarao City and in one private laboratory in Los Banos, which is Diamed Enterprise.
The project is aimed at lowering the cost of testing. Making testing more accessible allows for more rapid response and containment of this fatal disease.
Dr. Ernesto Balolong, Jr., director of Research and Development, Animal Health Division of Manila Healthtek (MTek), stressed though that impact on cost is not the primary advantage of MTek’s GenAmplify ASF PCR Kit. The product’s field testing proves its reliable performance.
During the field validation, participating laboratories conducted parallel testing or ran on previously known samples using MTek’s ASF PCR kit to see if it would produce the same negative or positive results.
The field testing shows the MTek’s ASF PCR kits work at par with imported test kits.
Last year, the GenAmplify ASF PCR kits were validated by the Veterinary Laboratory Division of the Bureau of the Animal Industry, which found the product to be 100 percent sensitive and 100 percent specific.
This means the testing kit can detect true positive which reflects on its sensitivity and can also detect true negative, a matter that reflects on specificity.
“Since the product is locally-developed, the manufacturers can readily provide technical assistance to laboratories should there be problems, versus imported test kits, which are manufactured abroad,” Balolong said.
Aside from validating the product, the field implementation also helps MTek audit the skills of the personnel and the equipment in the laboratories.
He said with field implementation, challenges are spotted before actual roll-out. MTek realizes there is a need to help upgrade the skills and equipment of some diagnostic laboratories
“No matter how good the product is, if the procedure being followed or the equipment is not correct, it would not yield the desired results,” Balonglong said.
MTek is the country’s first and only biotech company in diagnostics, which has been presenting diagnostics solutions to the country’s pressing concerns.
The firm has led the development of Biotek-M DengueAqua Kit, a gold medalist at the 46th International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva, Switzerland in 2018.
It also produces the GenAmplify Coronavirus 2019 (Covid-19) RT-PCR test kit, the Philippine-developed Covid-19 testing kit.
For more information, go to manila-healthtek.com, email [email protected], or call 0917-805-7331. – Press release