Segment of PH trench off Surigao del Norte coast may generate magnitude 8 earthquake – PHIVOLCS

Marje Pelayo   •   April 30, 2019   •   3192

MANILA, Philippines – A series of small and moderate earthquakes has been recorded along the Philippine trench off the coast of Surigao del Norte.

On April 26, a magnitude 5.5 earthquake was recorded 70 kilometers southeast of General Luna on Siargao Island.

Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Undersecretary Renato Solidum said earthquake swarms may continue due to the subduction in the Philippine trench.

The official explained that an earthquake swarm is different from aftershocks.

“Ang aftershock kasi ay maliliit na paglindol pagkatapos ng isang talagang malakas na pagyanig, distict na malakas. Ang nangyayari kasi sa off shore ng Surigao del Norte may magnitude 5.5 pero may mga magnitude 5, 4 point plus. So hindi talaga isang lindol na malakas tapos puro maliliit na. (An aftershock is a small earthquake after a strong shaking, distinctively strong. What is happening off the shore of Surigao del Norte is that, there is magnitude 5.5 but there are magnitudes 5, 4 point plus. So it’s not a strong earthquake and the followed by small ones,)” the Director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) explained.

Recently, a series of earthquakes in the area has also been recorded but Usec. Solidum said the activities have gradually subsided.

PHIVOLCS monitors the area so that they can immediately warn the public for a possible tsunami if a strong tremor occurs.

Solidum said a strong earthquake might not happen but it was a long time ago since the agency recorded a strong movement in that segment of the Philippine trench.

“Posibleng mga class magnitude 8 earthquake ang pwedeng maidulot ng pagkilos sa Philippine trench at pwede itong mag-trigger ng tsunami na pwedeng makaapekto sa baybayin ng mga probinsyang nakaharap sa Pacific Ocean, (The Philippine Trench may cause class magnitude 8 earthquake and it may trigger Tsunami that may affect coastal areas facing the Pacific Ocean,) Solidum said.

The official said a tsunami might reach the nearest fault in a matter of minutes depending on the distance of the epicenter to the nearest coast.

Although no swarm was recorded in other segments of the Philippine trench like the Manila trench, Sulu-Negros trench, and Cotabato trench; they may generate a major quake.

The Manila trench may generate a magnitude 8.3 earthquake and tsunami with a height of 3.5 meters to 5.5 meters.

Areas facing the West Philippine Sea might be affected including the Manila Bay.

“Kung nasa dalampasigan sila o malapit, mapapansin nilang biglang bumaba ang tubig, mabilisan. At kung nandoon pa sila malapit sa dalampasigan, pwede silang makarinig ng kakaibang ugong at ito ay senyales na ang tsunami ay paparating na sa dalampasigan, (If they are in or near the coastal areas, they will notice the immediate or abnormal drop of seawater. And if they are near the coastline, they would hear a roaring sound and it is a sign that a tsunami is approaching,)” Solidum concluded. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Local inventor, DOST to develop disinfection unit for COVID-19

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 26, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — A local inventor and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) are developing a disinfection unit for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Engr. Elpidio M. Paras, inventor and CEO of Parasat Cable TV, handed over his innovation to the DOST. The project aims to help healthcare frontliners to conserve Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Paras’ innovation called the Parazap is a portable ultraviolet room disinfection unit that is electrically operated. The machine consists of two sets of UV-C germicidal lamps that can accommodate up to 10 N95 masks in one cycle.

“The device is designed to disinfect PPEs specifically N95 masks, killing almost 99% of microorganisms by means of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation,” according to the media release of the DOST.

“In partnership with Engr. Paras, the DOST through its Regional Standards and Testing Laboratories (RSTL) and COVID-19 Response Disinfection Team will assess and evaluate the efficiency of the equipment through testing of N95 masks for growth of available microorganism stock cultures before and after treatment in the UV-C chamber,” the DOST added.

Meanwhile, the DOST is also in need of respirator and ventilator parts for COVID-19 patients. According to DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña, ventilators in small hospitals are depleting.

“Lalong humirap ang pag-import ng ventilator kasi nag-aagawan ng supply, (Importing ventilators is getting more difficult because there is competition for supply),” he said.

Two prototypes of 3D-printed ventilator parts and respirator Venturi valves were already turned over by DOST-Industrial Technology Development Institute (DOST-ITDI) to the National Children’s Hospital in Quezon City.

De la Peña said they will proceed with mass production once the prototypes work well in the first recipients. AAC

Locally-developed COVID-19 testing kits expected to be available starting next week – DOST

Robie de Guzman   •   March 30, 2020

Laboratory in action. A university researcher of the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) Mindanao loads extracted samples in a quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) machine at the biotechnology laboratory of UP Mindanao. The same technology is used for the detection of COVID-19. (File photo by PGC Mindanao/UP Mindanano)

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) on Monday said that around 120,000 locally-developed testing kits for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are expected to become available starting next week.

In a statement, the DOST said the ongoing field validation for the testing kits is expected to be completed by Wednesday, April 1, while the issuance of the Certificate of Product Registration (CPR) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected on Friday, April 3.

DOST Secretary Fortunato Dela Peña said the first batch of reagents have arrived which will enable the Manila HealthTek Inc. to manufacture the testing kits.

The production of the kits that can do up to 26,000 tests will be prioritized for field implementation and distribution to hospitals that can conduct the testing, he added.

These hospitals are the Philippine General Hospital, Makati Medical Center, The Medical City, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, Southern Philippines Medical Center, and Baguio General Hospital.

“From April 4 to 25, there will be a field implementation for the 26,000 tests funded under the DOST and the University of the Philippines-National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) Project,” the DOST chief said.

“The remaining testing kits good for around 94,000 tests will be sold commercially by Manila HealthTek at around P1,300 per kit which is cheaper than the units currently being used in hospitals which cost about P8,000,” he added.

Dela Peña also said that the Manila HealthTek have enough orders from the private sector who intend to donate them in turn to the Department of Health (Philippines) and hospitals.

No available COVID-19 test kits in Phl yet — FDA

Maris Federez   •   March 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reiterated that there are no registered COVID-19 diagnostic test kits that are now available to the public yet.

In a statement issued on Sunday (March 15), the FDA said this is so “because no company has complied with the minimum set of requirements.”

The FDA added that they are only asking for a License to Operate (LTO) as a distributor and a Certificate of Product Registration (CPR) from a reliable and mature national regulatory agency (NRA) such as FDA counterparts in the United States, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Europe, among others, from those who want to import test kits.

In the absence of such, a Certificate of Prequalification or Emergency Use Listing from the World Health Organization (WHO) is also admissible.

As of Sunday, the FDA said, no company has submitted these.

The agency also denied that there is a delay in the approval of the test kits, adding that as soon as proper documents are submitted to the FDA, the certification will be immediately released.

The FDA stressed that the submission of proper documents relative to the test kits will safeguard the public interest and ensure that the available test kits for use are safe and will give useful results.

“Many companies have been marketing test kits since the start of the COVID outbreak, however, the source and reliability of these devices are yet to be verified,” the statement reads.

Director-General Eric Domingo explained, “We cannot vouch for its safety and efficacy by merely accepting the stated claims of a testing kit without the proper regulatory certification from the country of origin and a reliable NRA. These kits may give false positive and false negative results which may affect the response to this pandemic. They may also be counterfeit products that will not test for the novel coronavirus at all.”

The FDA added that the only COVID-19 diagnostic test kits used now are PCR based lab kits at the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM) which were donated by the WHO, and the University of the Philippines National Institutes of Health (UP NIH) and Department of Science and Technology (DOST) developed test kit which is scheduled to start field testing on Monday, 16 March 2020.

The FDA ensures that it is committed to staying true to its mandate of safeguarding public health.

“During these difficult times, we strongly request everybody to cooperate and to be vigilant. This is not the time to take advantage of the scarcity of resources by allowing unregulated items into the system. Let us continue to look after each other’s safety.” DG Domingo concluded. — /mbmf


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