DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña 

MANILA – The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has allocated PHP19.13 million for a study to validate and evaluate antibody tests for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

The study, to be led by Leonila Dans of the University of the Philippines-Manila, will generate information on the diagnostic accuracy of rapid antibody tests in diagnosing Covid-19 among those suspected to have the disease, DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said over the weekend.

"The proposal was developed and initiated in response to the following: early diagnosis and isolation of those with Covid-19; determine what proportion of the population has been infected with Covid-19 and have developed antibodies, and understand whether or not the development of antibody translates to immunity against a subsequent infection," dela Peña said.

The study would need around 225 patients, and has a duration of nine months, he added.

There is no target date yet at the start of the study. He, however, said earlier that a study, even if approved by the DOST for funding, needs the Food and Drug Administration's approval before it could start. A clinical trial cannot be done without FDA approval, he said.

The budget would be used for personnel services, maintenance, and other operating expenses, he said. Most of the operating expenses would be for laboratory supplies and equipment, kits, transportation of samples, sample processing and analysis, he added. (PNA)