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AUF research team develops COVID-19 test kits with 90% accuracy

ANGELES CITY — A research team from the Angeles University Foundation Center for Advanced Research and Innovation (AUF-CARI) has developed test kits for COVID-19 with 90 percent accuracy, according to the Department of Science and Technology.

DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña said the locally developed COVID-19 test kits underwent clinical validation during the research and development stage and were found to be 90 percent accurate.

The project is being funded by DOST-III in response to the government’s call to produce locally-developed and affordable diagnostic kits that can effectively detect SARS-CoV- 2, which causes COVID-19.

“One of these kits uses blood samples (COVID-19 IgM and IgG Capture Enzyme Immunoassay) to detect an individual’s immune response against the virus,” he said in the DOSTv Facebook page last Friday.

The test, he said, can be used to distinguish early exposure and past exposure to the SARS-CoV- 2 virus, and to test if the immune system responded to a COVID-19 vaccine.

The team also produced saliva-based test kits—COVID-19 Salivary Antigen Test Kit and COVID-19 Saliva IgA Test Kit, De la Peña said.

The saliva-based test kits can detect both SARS-CoV antigen (COVID-19 Salivary Antigen Test Kit) and antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 Saliva IgA Test Kit) in the saliva of individuals being tested for the disease, he added.

The saliva-based tests can detect active infection and recent exposure to the virus, he noted.

De la Peña said the use of saliva-based testing is more advantageous than the current sample collection process for COVID-19 testing. Saliva is easier to collect and it also eliminates the risks associated with swabbing.

When commercialized locally, these tests can significantly contribute to the government’s goal on early detection in dealing COVID-19, he said.