MANILA – In preparation for the Department of Science and Technology's (DOST) proposed creation of a virology institute in the country, its partner researchers started a study and would undertake other studies related to virology, Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said Wednesday.

"There are several studies – one (study) for humans, for animals and plants. The study for animals already started, and it focuses on ASF (African swine fever)," he told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in a phone interview.

For humans, the researchers would focus on zika virus, and the cadang-cadang viroid in the study for plants, he added.

"(The) Philippines already had (cases of) zika virus, and we anticipate recurrence. Cadang-cadang would be another focus because there's a threat in the coconut population in the country," dela Peña remarked.

Wikipedia defines cadang-cadang as a disease caused by coconut cadang-cadang viroid.

Dela Peña said genetic sequencing would be a priority in these studies, as this would lead to detection, and eventually, finding a cure.

Those who would be involved in these studies are the DOST's network of researchers from some universities and provinces, he added.

Aside from studies focusing on viral ecology, clinical virology, vector transmission, pathogenesis, pathophysiology, dela Peña earlier said that the establishment of a virology institute would also be for the development of vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics.

The proposed institute would cater to researches on viral diseases and pathogens, he said. (PR)