Technology

UP genome center makes breakthrough in fight vs dengue

UP-developed dengue kit

Just as dengue cases in the Philippines have reached epidemic proportions–with the number of cases increasing 92% from 2018 figures with over 400,000 sufferers reported as of November 2019–the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) of the National Science Complex in the University of the Philippines Diliman Campus has come up with a diagnostic kit that can potentially save lives from this dreaded mosquito-borne disease.

This kit is called the Biotek-MTM Dengue Aqua Kit, which is currently being distributed nationwide. The portable kit can detect dengue virus infection within the first five days of symptom onset.

The PGC however, is not stopping at just making headway in the campaign to eradicate dengue. The Center is also looking to help in the fight against lifestyle diseases, as it houses an array of equipment for next-generation sequencing, enhancing the skills and knowhow of researchers with regular genomics seminars, trainings, workshops as well as educational tours and immersion programs since its public launch 10 years ago.

Dr. Cynthia P. Saloma, PGC Executive Director, shared their strategic direction for the next five years. “Our team is focusing on the impact of our research services on the lives of ordinary Filipinos for better appreciation of the government’s investments in science and technology.”

A diagnostic kit that can potentially save lives from this dreaded mosquito-borne disease.
A diagnostic kit that can potentially save lives from this dreaded mosquito-borne disease.

The increased awareness of genomics as a potent tool in unraveling information that can help physicians diagnose and treat a patient became even more compelling when cardiologist Dr. Rody Sy presented advances in understanding cardiovascular disease from the molecular perspective–specifically in Filipino patients–and how such knowledge can help the public discover innovative ways to diagnose and treat heart disease in a way that would be unique to the Filipino population.

Sy further showcased the possibility for clinical researchers, local hospitals, and drug manufacturers to collectively develop innovative therapies to treat Filipino patients, keeping in mind their unique genetic make-up. This is especially important given that cardiovascular disease remains to be one of the leading causes of death in the country.