DOH eyes development of dengue test kits

By Leilani Junio

April 22, 2018, 12:09 am

MANILA --The Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday said it will explore ways to develop a test kit that determines if a patient has been positive or negative of dengue.

DOH Undersecretary Rolando Enrique Domingo said the plan to develop the test kits was in cooperation with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) through its experts, and researchers from the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD).

"We had a meeting with PCHRD last week and all the potential researchers and the decision of the expert groups and the secretaries of DOST and DOH is that we're going to try to develop all three possible test (kits)," said Domingo in an interview with the media.

Domingo said that the test kits to be developed are those that were product of researches and tests by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Hawaii and from a university in Taiwan.

He said the Health department plans to bring in all three researches in the country, along with the technology, to find out which among the three diagnostic test kits fits best in the actual settings within the country.

He further said the real plan really was to eventually develop the best test kits that would determine whether or not a child had prior exposure to dengue infection before he/she was vaccinated.

The need to find out if the child has been previously exposed to dengue is important for the DOH.

Knowing who among those vaccinated with Dengvaxia had been previously sick with dengue through the test kit is also essential in monitoring if a child will develop severe dengue.

Sanofi Pasteur, the manufacturer of Dengvaxia, claimed that those vaccinated with the dengue vaccine, who had no prior exposure to dengue, might develop severe dengue.

The test kit is also in line with the latest World Health Organization (WHO) Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) recommendation to conduct a test first to an individual to find out if he is zero-negative or zero-positive with dengue before the administration of Dengvaxia vaccine.

Meanwhile, he said that Secretary of Health Francisco Duque III has agreed to provide the funding for the test kits.

A person may be infected with dengue up to four times as there is Dengue 1; Dengue 2; Dengue 3 and Dengue 4. This means that prior exposure to a type of dengue will not guarantee that a former patient will not get sick with dengue again.

This is why the DOH had been continuously encouraging vector control through cleanliness of surrounding as key way to be protected from dengue. (PNA)