IAEA donates COVID-19 test kits to the PH


The Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) has reported that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is donating P4.7-million worth of detection kits for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) to the Philippines.

The kits were formally requested by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)  for the Department of Health (DOH), according to a report.

The test kits will be turned over next week. The said detection kits use nuclear techniques for quick, accurate detection.

The technology used in the detection kits is called the Real-Time Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR). It is one of the most accurate laboratory methods  for detecting, tracking, and studying the coronavirus.

IAEA explained that the RT-PCR is a nuclear-derived method for detecting the presence of specific genetic material. IAEA claimed that scientists can see the results almost immediately while the process is still ongoing.

“The real time RT-PCR technique is highly sensitive and specific and can deliver a reliable diagnosis as fast as three hours, though usually laboratories take on average between 6 to 8 hours,” the IAEA explained in an article on its website. 

“Compared to other available virus isolation methods, real time RT-PCR is significantly faster and has a lower potential for contamination or errors as the entire process can be done within a closed tube. It continues to be the most accurate method available for detection of the coronavirus,” the agency added.

IAEA director general Rafael Mariano Grossi said they will provide the diagnostic kits to countries asking for assistance.

Aside from that, IAEA said that  €84,000 donation is expected to be delivered next week to the DOH, which is used for the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and hospitals that conduct COVID-19 testing.

The IAEA will also hold a training on the use of the kits, wherein two professors from the University of the Philippines-Manila will participate.