3 OFWs in Saudi Arabia found positive for MERS-CoV

admin   •   March 7, 2015   •   2408

FILE PHOTO: Captured image at NAIA thermal scanner in March 2014 (UNTV News)

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed that two nurses and a respiratory technician working in Saudi Arabia had been tested positive for the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus (MERS-CoV).

One of the nurses is 56 years old and worked at the emergency room; the second one was assigned at the oncology section.

“Our embassy in Riyadh confirmed that 3 Filipinos are infected with MERSCOV in Saudi Arabia,” DFA Spokesperson Charles Jose said in an interview.

The hospitals where the three Filipinas worked were not named.

The 56-year old nurse is now in isolation and the other two are undergoing examinations to arrest the deadly disease.

“Our embassy in Riyadh and our Consulate General in Jeddah will continue to monitor the new Filipino MERS cases as well to encourage our nationals in Saudi Arabia to take extra precautionary measures,” Jose said.

It was learned that they were infected by patients with MERS-CoV who were also confined in the hospitals they were working in.

The DFA is coordinating with the families of the patients to inform them of their condition.

Their employers will be covering their medical expenses.

The DFA reminded our fellow Filipinos working in the Middle East, especially health workers, to follow infection prevention protocols in hospitals to avoid being infected with MERS-CoV and other diseases.

Last month, a Filipina nurse who returned to the country was tested positive for MERS-CoV.

After several weeks of treatment at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), she recovered and has been released from the hospital.

The DFA once again appealed to our countrymen in the Middle East who will be returning to the Philippines to undergo examinations before travelling to make sure that the deadly virus will not enter the country. (Joan Nano / UNTV News)

IATF approves Phl participation in COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials

Maris Federez   •   May 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Upon the recommendation of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has approved the proposed participation of the Philippines in clinical trials that seek to formulate a potential vaccine against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Based on IATF Resolution No.39 dated May 22, 2020, the task force has also ordered the creation of a sub-technical working group which will be led by the DOST.

The group will be coordinating with the four collaborating organizations composed of the Department of Health (DOH), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), and the World Health Organization (WHO) with regard to the said clinical trials.

The IATF has also issued a directive to the FDA to facilitate the processing of necessary permits for the conduct of the clinical trials in the country.

The collaborating organizations for the clinical trials are the Adimmune Corporation, Academia Sinica, Chinese Academy of Science- Guangzhou Institute of Biomedicine and Health, the Sinopharm – Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, and the Beijing Institute.

Once the clinical trials are undertaken, these will be included in the FDA’s requirements for the registration process for the vaccine and the application for certificate of registration to make the vaccine available in the market.

The Philippines has initially participated in the WHO’s clinical trials, which include the testing of off-label drugs that show potential of being effective against COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the IATF has also approved the plans of the DOST to construct research centers for the local vaccine research development.

These include the Virology S&T Institute at the New Clark City in Tarlac and the reactivation of the Pharmaceutical Development Unit of the DOST-Industrial Technology Development Institute. —(from the report of Rosalie Coz) /mbmf

Typhoon Ambo destroys DOH-CHD facility in Bicol region

Maris Federez   •   May 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Bicol Regional Diagnostic and Reference Laboratory (BRDRL) on Saturday reported the damage that its bio-safety cabinet has sustained in the onslaught of Typhoon Ambo in the region.

The BRDRL, which is operating under the Department of Health-Center for Health Development – Bicol, said the bio-safety cabinet is the machine it uses in processing the RT-PCR testing kits.

Because of this, the BRDRL will suspend accepting samples until the machine’s exhaust duct is repaired.

The 146 remaining samples that are already pending analysis in the laboratory as of Friday (May 15) will be brought to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Manila, it said.

Although the DOH has yet to determine when the BRDRL will be back to normal operation, the agency assured that they are doing everything to fix the problem and will have the machine repaired as soon as possible. — (with details from Correspondent Allan Manansala) /mbmf

RITM receives additional COVID-19 funding from France

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 1, 2020

The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) has received additional funding from the French government for its coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response.

In a post, the Embassy of France to the Philippines said the French government has allocated 2 million euros or an estimate of P109.4 million to support the COVID-19 responses of seven frontline laboratories located in five Southeast Asian countries.

One of the beneficiaries include the RITM in the Philippines.

“Within the framework of this funding, seven laboratories will benefit from direct support for the response phase of the COVID-19 epidemic for the following aspects: reinforcement of equipment, purchase of diagnostic kits, acquisition of personal protective equipment, reinforcement in human resources, training and transfer of skills, deployment of mass testing complementing current molecular diagnosis, and support for data processing,” the French Embassy said in a statement.

Other countries who benefited from the additional fund include Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Vietnam. AAC

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