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Detection of Other Viral and Bacterial Diseases Eyed After Dengue Diagnostics Kit

After developing the international award-winning rapid dengue diagnostic kit,  local infectious disease expert Dr. Raul Destura and his team of researchers are now developing technologies for the fast detection of other deadly diseases.

Destura, who formed biotechnology startup Manila HealthTek Inc. to market the Biotek-M Dengue Aqua Kit that can diagnose dengue within an hour, said his team has been working on the expansion of the “Lab in a Mug” diagnostic technology to also provide an affordable diagnostic kit to detect other viruses and disease-causing bacteria with the next initial batch focused on chikungunya, zika virus, schistosomiasis and salmonella.

He said they target to provide a diagnostic kit for 11 viruses and bacteria with the next batch of diseases being tuberculosis, TB rifampicin resistance, influenza, hepatitis-B, malaria and HIV (human immunodeficiency virus).

“That’s why we call it Lab in a Mug. It’s just one mug but it can detect multiple infectious diseases,” Destura, a microbiologist and infectious disease specialist also working for the UP Manila National Institutes of Health and the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, told The STAR.

Like the Biotek-M Dengue Aqua Kit, the other diagnostic kits will also be affordable for use in hospitals and eventually in barangay health centers.

Destura said his team is working to upgrade the dengue kit to allow its use even in barangay health centers.

The Biotek-Dengue Aqua Kit is being rolled out in some 60 government hospitals in Regions 1, 3 and 6, in a pilot project being conducted by the Department of Health which purchased some P21 million worth of the kits.

The Biotek-M Dengue Aqua kit was one of two Filipino-developed inventions that bagged a gold medal at the 46th International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva, Switzerland. It is an affordable rapid diagnostic kit that uses the polymerase chain reaction technology to detect the virus in less than an hour.

Destura, a member of the Department of Science and Technology-National Research Council of the Philippines, received funding grants from the DOST Grants-in-Aid program, Philippine Council for Health Research and Development and Technology Innovation for Commercialization Technicom.

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