More funds sought for virus lab

SAFETY MEASURE. Stores in Baguio City are out of stock of N95 and face masks due to high demand as the public takes precautionary measures against possible infections from the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). (Photo by Jean Nicole Cortes)

NO CONGRESSIONAL action is needed for the health department to establish a national laboratory in the country tasked to evaluate and determine health viruses such as the 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCOV ARD) for immediate action to be taken by government.

Baguio City Representative Marquez Go, member of the committee on health, said during the recent congressional hearing on the 2019-nCov ARD he pledged to support the health department’s bid for additional funding to support the needed facilities and training for the Regional Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) which gathers viral samples for testing.

“We discussed this with Undersecretary of Health and they will try to find ways and means to be able to do all this test in our country by strengthening the RITM or the Regional Institute for Tropical Medicine by government providing additional funding for them to do the needed analysis, evaluation and testing of blood and saliva samples of people for this particular work. I think this is a wakeup call for us to act by making sure that our environment is clean,” Go said.

Go said with the additional funding for RITM, this would give the health department its specific institution to have its own evaluation and analysis center not only for the 2019 nCov ARD or corona virus but for other virus as well.

“If there would be similar cases like the corona virus, there is a need for an institution which will conduct the necessary medical action aside from our country inventing or developing its own medicine or vaccine to address or even prevent the spread of such virus and other virus for that matter,” the Solon stated.

Meanwhile, the Congressman sees a positive position for the establishment of a Department of Disaster Resilience which will have a big role specially on health concerns particularly the 2019 nCov ARD and other emerging health issues that may affect the country in the future.

“During our discussions in the creation of the Department of Disaster Resilience, this case on 2019 nCov ARD was not part of our discussion. We were so focus on earthquakes, typhoons and calamities happening in our country, this is an additional input for the creation of the department and I am sure in our next hearing, this will be included as an additional proposed amendment and hopefully this bill will be approved before we go on recess on March at the House of Representatives because this has a big impact because it deals with transmission,” Go added.

On Friday January 30, Baguio City was the first Local Government Unit to form its Task Force On novel coronavirus in response to the order issued by Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año on what measures are to be instituted by various agencies of government if ever a case of the 2019 nCov ARD would be present in the City or in any part of the Cordillera Region. (Jonathan Llanes)


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