The Department of Agriculture (DA) said it will mass-produce locally-developed test kits for distribution to local government units (LGUs) to help combat the African Swine Fever (ASF).
Visiting Palawan on Friday, agriculture secretary William Dar said that the P80 million-funded test kits developed by Central Luzon State University in partnership with Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) will be distributed to provinces where ASF is already present.
“Kapag na-accredit na ang Bureau of Animal Industry, agad-agad na magma-mass manufacture at ipapamudmod natin sa mga partner LGUs para meron silang gagamitin na pang-surveillance kasi ngayon wala pa tayo. Step by step ay nakikita na natin ang light at the end of the tunnel,” Dar said.
He said that the test kit is “a combination of a rapid kit with PCR testing” that will provide a result within just an hour.
“Itong pag-control ng spread ng ASF ay pinaparating na namin sa iba’t ibang Local glGovernment Units. Bibigyan na namin ang LGUs ng makinarya that will enhance their monitoring and surveillance. Ano ang ibig sabihin, ngayon sa COVID-19, meron tayong anti-gen test na mas mura kumpara sa PCR test, ganoon din ang ginagawa natin,” he explained.
However, Dar did not give a timeline of the distribution of the test kit and its mass production.
In a previous statement of the department, part of the P80 million budget under the program dubbed as “BABay ASF” will be provided by the DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) to augment the mass production of test kit called “ASFV Nanogold Biosensor” in partnership with other interested private firms and State Universities and Colleges (SUCs).
The statement added that with this development, the DA-BAI personnel and LGU veterinarians can now administer the kit for biosecurity measures, profiling of farms for repopulation, and surveillance and monitoring activities, at a more economical and faster rate right at the so-called ‘ground-zero.’