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Fil-Chinese Community aid gov’t hospitals

March 30, 2020

The Filipino Chinese Community of Cagayan de Oro is mobilizing much needed medical supplies to assist two government hospitals at the front line of the fight against the COVID-19 coronavirus.     “We will be donating P1-million worth of medical supplies requested by the Northern Mindanao Medical Center on Monday, March 23, 2020, to assist them in coping with the influx of persons under investigations (PUI) and persons under monitoring (PUM),” said Efren Uy, committee chairman of the Cagayan de Oro Filipino-Chinese Community for the COVID-19 assistance project.     Uy said the first tranche of supplies worth P250,000 to be turned over to NMCC Chief Administration Officer Aurelia Tacandong are locally purchased and include 60 cartons rubbing alcohol, two units knapsack sprayer, 12 pails disinfectant solution (chlorine), safety goggles, rubber boots, protective raincoats with pants, face shields, and disposable water tissues/paper towels     “The second tranche worth P750,000 which we are purchasing outside      the city will be arriving end of the month, and includes N95 face masks, chemical suits, gloves, shoe covers, hazardous material suits earlier requested by NMMC Chief Dr. Jose Chan for healthcare workers,” Uy added.      “It is our fervent hope that this request be granted to assure that we will not be at any risk of contracting the diseases and to further boost the morale of our health care practitioners who are always ready to serve as front liners during this time of crisis,” Chan wrote in his letter to Uy.     During the latest daily press conference held at the Cagayan de Oro City Hall, Chan reported that one of the 12 Persons Under Investigation (PUIs) at NMMC is in critical condition, one is improving. The Filipino Chinese Community of Cagayan de Oro is mobilizing much needed medical supplies to assist two government hospitals at the front line of the fight against the COVID-19 coronavirus.     “We will be donating P1-million worth of medical supplies requested by the Northern Mindanao Medical Center on Monday, March 23, 2020, to assist them in coping with the influx of persons under investigations (PUI) and persons under monitoring (PUM),” said Efren Uy, committee chairman of the Cagayan de Oro Filipino-Chinese Community for the COVID-19 assistance project.     Uy said the first tranche of supplies worth P250,000 to be turned over to NMCC Chief Administration Officer Aurelia Tacandong are locally purchased and include 60 cartons rubbing alcohol, two units knapsack sprayer, 12 pails disinfectant solution (chlorine), safety goggles, rubber boots, protective raincoats with pants, face shields, and disposable water tissues/paper towels     “The second tranche worth P750,000 which we are purchasing outside the city will be arriving end of the month, and includes N95 face masks, chemical suits, gloves, shoe covers, hazardous material suits earlier requested by NMMC Chief Dr. Jose Chan for healthcare workers,” Uy added.      “It is our fervent hope that this request be granted to assure that we will not be at any risk of contracting the diseases and to further boost the morale of our health care practitioners who are always ready to serve as front liners during this time of crisis,” Chan wrote in his letter to Uy.     During the latest daily press conference held at the Cagayan de Oro City Hall, Chan reported that one of the 12 Persons Under Investigation (PUIs) at NMMC is in critical condition, one is improving.     Later the same evening, Dr. Adrian Suba-an, DOH Region X regional director announced that “four PUIs have tested negative to SARS CoV-2 (causative agent of COVID-19) with no viral RNA detected.”     During the same press conference, Cagayan de Oro City Mayor read the latest updates on COVID-19 cases in Northern Mindanao (Region X).     “The DOH-10 data lists 58 PUIs, of whom 17 have been admitted to hospitals; 111 are under home quarantine and a further 1,579 are Persons Under Monitoring (PUMs). There was one fatality originating from outside the region who expired last March 13 with no further fatalities to date.”     Moreno also reported that the NMMC, the J.B. Borja General Hospital and other private hospitals in the city are working out harmonized and synchronized operations, among which are moving maternal deliveries and minor cases from NMMC and JRBGH to the private hospitals.     The CDO Filipino Chinese Community is also mobilizing another P500,000 worth of donations earlier requested by the J.R. Borja General Hospital through Dr Liova de Guia, for 30 Virusolve Trigger Spray, 20 boots, Virusolve for soaking (10 gallons), Individual sterile surgical gown with set-in sleeves (1,500 pcs), N95 masks (1,500 pcs), 1,500 yellow aprons, and 30 spore clear wipes The Filipino-Chinese Community of Cagayan de Oro under the current leadership of President Sonny Choi includes 21 community organizations, including family associations, chambers of commerce, schools, martial arts, civic and religious fraternities.  These including the following: Misamis Oriental Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Inc.;  Mindanao Council for the Promotion of Peaceful Reunification of China in the Philippines; Cagayan de Oro Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Inc.; Cagayan de Oro You We Tong Civic & Religious Fraternity, Inc.; Oro Christian Grace School; Misamis Oriental Liong Tek Fraternity Association, Inc.; Sejo-Lim Family Association-Northern Mindanao Chapter; Cagayan de Oro Bell Church Foundation, Inc.; Kong Hua School; Cagayan de Oro Volunteer Fire Brigade, Inc.; Phil. Wushu Federation-Cagayan de Oro Chapter; Phil. Kim Mun Association-Misamis Oriental Chapter ; Cagayan Gospel Church ; Cagayan de Oro Filipino-Chinese Amity Club;  Cagayan de Oro San Lorenzo Filipino-Chinese Catholic Community; Philippine Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc.-Misamis Oriental Chapter; Philippine Chinese High School Alumni Association-Cagayan de Oro Chapter; Misamis Oriental Progressive Mason Temple, Inc.; Kong Hua School, Inc.; and the Chee Kung Tong Chinese Free Mason Misamis Oriental Branch.

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Business as usual in cdo amidst of 5 confirmed COVID-19 patients at NMMC,City Dad says

March 30, 2020

Cagayan de Oro-Despite of Department of Health(DoH) Region 10’s pronouncement that the city is in Red Alert level 1 Status because of a certain 54 years old man from Iligan City admitted at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center(NMMC) here,Mayor Oscar S.Moreno is asking local businessmen not to panic and still show it to the people that business as usual in the city despite of the confirmed 5 already that is admitted at NMMC as of Thursday. .    Mayor Moreno is tempted to cancel graduation rites in the city but he cannot afford to do it since graduation is a once in a lifetime memorable event for both students and parents.”I am waiting for the declaration of both the health and education department to cancel such event and if that will be happen,i dont have any choice but to obey the order” Moreno said.     The City Government and DoH 10 is initiating for a joint press conference in a hotel here Thursday to address real message and that is to inform the public that in case that the said 54 years old patient from Iligan and 4 other new patients proven to be a local transmitted Corona Virus desease; then,it will turnout desperately into Red Alert Level 2,said DoH 10 Regional Director P. Suba-an.” We are preparing but hoping that it will not be happen but the implication is that we are also not to discount that our region is also vulberable of such desease” Suba-an explained when asked by local Media. He reiterated another implication that theres no place in the country like in this city that is safe for COVID-19,it could happen anywhere and its happening now with a total of 22 Persons Under Investigation(PUI) in this region and 5 of them is now confined in an isolation room at NMMC.”What we are doing right now is to contain and prevent the disease not to enter in the region by doing our mandate to respond such as the Contact tracing,expansion of surveillance,testing,and Strict enforcement of home quarantine”Suba-an added. He also explained that the said 54 years old patient at NMMC was admitted in Adventist Medical Center in Iligan City last March 3 for Pneumonia,and subsequently referred to NMMC on March 8.Specimens  were taken and sent to the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine(RITM).On March 11,the result was confirmed to be positive for SARs-CoV-2,the causative agent of COVID-19.The patient is being managed by DoH Infectious Deseases Specialists in accordance with the latest World Health Organization(WHO)guidelines. According to Suba-an that the said patient has No Travel history abroad and work in a company in 2017 at Pasig City in National Capital Region(NCR) and going back home timely during Marawi Siege but the Task Force on COVID-19 in Iligan City is having difficulty in tracing several people and family members that the patient, referred to by the Department of Health (DOH) as PH40, have been in close contact before he was quarantined to the NMMC. Dr. Leonel Quitos, Infectious Specialist of Adventist Medical Center (AMC), said PH40 is uncooperative and not disclosing his travel history and the places he went to and why he was in Iligan City. This is also the reason why the Iligan Medical Society (IMS) cannot confirm the information that PH40 is a resident of Ganassi town, in Lanao del Sur or a resident of Marawi. PH40, who was evacuated to NMMC on March 8, has fever, cough and difficulty in breathing, two weeks before he was admitted at the NMMC. Quitos said PH40 had only gave him few details when he was forced to do it. He said despite the limited information given by the patient, the Task Force on COVID-19 had able to trace the immediate family members of PH40 and they are now put in a home quarantine. “His immediate family members, so far, are asymptomatic. I have contact several doctors in NMMC and they have said the patient is improving, that’s good news,” Quitos said.DoH 10 is waiting for the result to be furnished on Thurday afternoon or on Friday to really know that its positive of Corona Virus Desease 2019. The Health Department of the country released an advisory for the Cancellation of crowded land events such as concerts,festivals,general assembly and even cockfighting and not to mention graduation rites.DoH also ask all Local Government Units to implement their own safety measures and facilitate health cares. Due to the enermous threat of COVID-19,the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce(ORO CHAMBER) will conduct briefing for business sectors on Friday. The Department of Trade and Industry in Northern Mindanao has already started to implement its coordination with grocery,supermarket and pharmacy owners to limit the quantity of items they are selling specially alcohol,hand sanitiser and face mask in light of the panic buying caused by COVID-19 scare Cagayan de Oro-Despite of Department of Health(DoH) Region 10’s pronouncement that the city is in Red Alert level 1 Status because of a certain 54 years old man from Iligan City admitted at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center(NMMC) here,Mayor Oscar S.Moreno is asking local businessmen not to panic and still show it to the people that business as usual in the city despite of the confirmed 5 already that is admitted at NMMC as of Thursday. Mayor Moreno is tempted to cancel graduation rites in the city but he cannot afford to do it since graduation is a once in a lifetime memorable event for both students and parents.”I am waiting for the declaration of both the health and education department to cancel such event and if that will be happen,i dont have any choice but to obey the order” Moreno said. The City Government and DoH 10 is initiating for a joint press conference in a hotel here Thursday to address real message and that is to inform the public that in case that the said 54 years old patient from Iligan and 4 other new patients proven to be a local transmitted Corona Virus desease; then,it will turnout desperately into Red Alert Level 2,said DoH 10 Regional Director P. Suba-an.” We are preparing but hoping that it will not be happen but the implication is that we are also not to discount that our region is also vulberable of such desease” Suba-an explained when asked by local Media. He reiterated another implication that theres no place in the country like in this city that is safe for COVID-19,it could happen anywhere and its happening now with a total of 22 Persons Under Investigation(PUI) in this region and 5 of them is now confined in an isolation room at NMMC.”What we are doing right now is to contain and prevent the disease not to enter in the region by doing our mandate to respond such as the Contact tracing,expansion of surveillance,testing,and Strict enforcement of home quarantine”Suba-an added. He also explained that the said 54 years old patient at NMMC was admitted in Adventist Medical Center in Iligan City last March 3 for Pneumonia,and subsequently referred to NMMC on March 8.Specimens  were taken and sent to the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine(RITM).On March 11,the result was confirmed to be positive for SARs-CoV-2,the causative agent of COVID-19.The patient is being managed by DoH Infectious Deseases Specialists in accordance with the latest World Health Organization(WHO)guidelines. According to Suba-an that the said patient has No Travel history abroad and work in a company in 2017 at Pasig City in National Capital Region(NCR) and going back home timely during Marawi Siege but the Task Force on COVID-19 in Iligan City is having difficulty in tracing several people and family members that the patient, referred to by the Department of Health (DOH) as PH40, have been in close contact before he was quarantined to the NMMC. Dr. Leonel Quitos, Infectious Specialist of Adventist Medical Center (AMC), said PH40 is uncooperative and not disclosing his travel history and the places he went to and why he was in Iligan City. This is also the reason why the Iligan Medical Society (IMS) cannot confirm the information that PH40 is a resident of Ganassi town, in Lanao del Sur or a resident of Marawi. PH40, who was evacuated to NMMC on March 8, has fever, cough and difficulty in breathing, two weeks before he was admitted at the NMMC. Quitos said PH40 had only gave him few details when he was forced to do it. He said despite the limited information given by the patient, the Task Force on COVID-19 had able to trace the immediate family members of PH40 and they are now put in a home quarantine. “His immediate family members, so far, are asymptomatic. I have contact several doctors in NMMC and they have said the patient is improving, that’s good news,” Quitos said.DoH 10 is waiting for the result to be furnished on Thurday afternoon or on Friday to really know that its positive of Corona Virus Desease 2019. The Health Department of the country released an advisory for the Cancellation of crowded land events such as concerts,festivals,general assembly and even cockfighting and not to mention graduation rites.DoH also ask all Local Government Units to implement their own safety measures and facilitate health cares. Due to the enermous threat of COVID-19,the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce(ORO CHAMBER) will conduct briefing for business sectors on Friday. The Department of Trade and Industry in Northern Mindanao has already started to implement its coordination with grocery,supermarket and pharmacy owners to limit the quantity of items they are selling specially alcohol,hand sanitiser and face mask in light of the panic buying caused by COVID-19 scare

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Globe turns over P14M in cash donation to PGH for purchase of medical supplies and personal protective equipment

March 30, 2020

Globe successfully raised and turned over P14M to the PGH Medical Foundation, Inc. (PGH-MFI). The amount was gathered through the joint efforts of loyal Globe customers who donated over P9M via their Rewards points, and the company’s initial pledge of P5M in cash donation. This is part of the telco’s comprehensive efforts in providing immediate aid to medical frontliners at PGH, which is now a designated exclusive COVID-19 hospital by the Department of Health (DOH). The funds were utilized by PGH-MFI to purchase much-needed test kits, alcohol, and complete sets of personal protective equipment (PPEs) such as surgical masks, face shields, and surgical gowns. Globe also turned over 50 mobile phones preloaded with unlimited calls and texts to all networks valid for 30 days to serve the communication needs of healthcare workers and frontliners at PGH.     “We are overwhelmed with gratitude to all customers who stand together with us in our ongoing fight against the pandemic,” said Ernest Cu, President and CEO at Globe. “We also hope that this can show our kababayans that in times like these, doing simple acts of kindness even within the safety of our homes can truly make a difference.”     Last March 5, Globe also donated P5M worth of surgical masks to the Philippine Red Cross. Further, it has provided free unli internet connection via its GoWiFi services since March 13 to 68 public and private hospitals across the country. Mobile and broadband customers are also encouraged to stay updated on the developments on COVID-19 with access to the official sites of DOH, NDRRMC and PIA free of data charges.     Download the Globe Rewards app to donate to PGH Medical Foundation and other partner medical institutions. Learn more about how you can help in the fight against COVID-19 via https://www.facebook.com/globeph/.

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Chambers propose mass screening with RST to curb COVID-19 spread

March 30, 2020

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry today endorsed to President Rodrigo Duterte a resolution from its affiliate chambers in Mindanao urging the ramping up of mass screening of possible COVID-19 cases in the country through the adoption of the Rapid Serologic Test (RST) as a surveillance tool. In its letter to the president coursed through Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea dated today, PCCI President Amb. Benedicto V. Yujuico also requested the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to grant Emergency Use Authority to the application for registration of verifiable suppliers of RST kits, and to set up “PCR Sub-National Reference Laboratories” in all regions of Mindanao.      “We urgently need to check the health of our communities and this is only possible using mass testing in the field. Having statistics of sick patients in the hospital is just too late,” said Ma. Teresa R. Alegrio, PCCI area vice president for Mindanao.     “We need to know actual cases in the field even before they become symptomatic or no longer symptomatic (unknowingly healed) to make targeted decisions before they even get to hospitals,” she added.     PCCI is advocating the immediate rollout of the mass screening program using RST by local government units in partnership with national agencies, Philippine Red Cross and other NGOs starting with all PUIs awaiting access to PCR testing, all PUMs, vulnerable persons within the vicinity of a cluster of Covid-19 outbreak, and among front liners in the hospital and in the field. Persons who test positive from RST mass screening should also be required to undergo priority confirmatory testing by PCR.     The chambers are also requesting the Food and Drug Administration Philippines (FDA) to grant Emergency Use Authority to approve the applications for registration of verifiable suppliers of RST Kits that already underwent the registration process with their respective FDAs in their country of origin. Not the least, PCCI also supports the call of many LGUs and regional bodies to set up  “sub-national reference labs” in all regions of Mindanao in addition to the four already being set up in the San Lazaro Hospital in Manila, the Baguio General Hospital & Medical Center in Benguet, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City, and Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City. The Western Visayas Medical Center and the Bicol Public Health Laboratory are also being prepared for testing. https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/03/21/20/doh-says-to-speed-up-covid-19-testing-with-more-labs-120000-test-kits In addition to the University of the Philippines - National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH), five private hospitals are also being assessed by the DOH and the World Health Organization as possible extension laboratories.  These are the molecular biology laboratories of St. Luke’s Medical Center - Global City, Makati Medical Center, The Medical City, St. Luke’s Medical Center - Quezon City and Chinese General Hospital. Indonesian Experience A week ago, Indonesian President Joko Widodo ordered the rollout of rapid tests for COVID-19 across the country in a bid to accelerate detection of the disease. Rapid tests are easier to perform than regular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests and can detect COVID-19 cases quicker. Since rapid tests like the RST only require blood serum as a sample, these can be conducted by most health laboratories across the country enabling mass testing in COVID-19 hit areas to be performed quickly. It is easier to implement than the regular tests like PCR, which must be performed in level two biosafety laboratories, since they involved the sampling of nasal fluids or larynx substances which contain the virus as main specimens. Since rapid tests are easier to perform, Indonesia expects more people to be tested and sent to hospitals if found positive. To anticipate a rise in confirmed cases, Jokowi called for hospitals to set up health protocols for handling those who had performed the test. PCR too slow to determine virus spread Although PCR (polymerase chain reaction) is a tried and tested method to confirm COVID-19 infection in PUIs and PUMs, it does not give a true picture of the spread of the infection in a community due to the length of time it takes to confirm a test, now worsened by the backlog at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) due to the sheer volume of samples, the shortage of testing kits to meet the demand, and the extended time to send samples to RITM due to the lockdown of the national transport network. RITM is the sole testing facility in the country at present since the four additional regional centers are not yet ready to conduct tests. Indirect Method “RST is an excellent tool to check the presence of antibodies naturally produced by the human body as a defense mechanism to fight the presence of a destructive foreign body, e.g. the SARS-CoV2 /COVID-19 virus,” said Roderico Biaco, PCCI-X Regional Governor. “It is an indirect method of detecting the presence of the virus (the infection), unlike the PCR test which detects the actual virus itself.” “Each has innate limitations, serve different functions, but should be used together to complement each other in combating the global pandemic,” Biaco noted. Biaco said needs a better surveillance tool that is affordable, reasonably accurate and reliable, easily deployable in the field with minimal technical skill (no need special laboratory with HVAC and negative room pressure, etc), and safer (no need to transport live virus samples). It is also important to note that our field operatives and front liners know that they have fair access to the testing themselves to boost their morale, he added. “Furthermore, we can map out (geo tag) the existence of the spread of the virus using GIS (geospatial information system) and updating the GIS database is faster using RST,” Biaco stressed. “This is critical in planning and executing decisions in the field. We need to analyze faster patterns and trends the virus spreading in the community to make proactive policies and timely decisions.” RST vs. PCR explained In the early stage of infection( first 5-6 days), a true positive person may be tested negative by RST (false negative) because his body may not yet have produced enough antibodies that can be detected by RST. RST is not the proper tool to monitor the ongoing infection, that is the role of PCR, he explained. On the other hand, science journals are saying that the infection starts in the lungs and the virus may not still be present in nasal tracts or sputum 1-5 days after exposure for the PCR test to detect possibly yielding a false negative also. PCR also cannot detect the virus if the person has already completely healed from the disease. How RST buys time The IgM and IgG antibodies that are specific to the COVID-19 virus may take around 5-6 days after exposure for the body to produce enough antibodies detectable by RST. At that point, the infected person may start showing symptoms. Most healthy persons are expected to show mild reaction to the virus and may even be asymptomatic, but his immune system already produces antibodies combating the virus. Upon successfully fighting the virus, the infected person gets rid of the virus in his system, but the antibodies may remain in his body for several days. In this event, PCR test can no longer determine the presence of the virus nor diagnose if the person went through the infection in the first place in the absence of prior testing. However, in this case, RST can determine with a high degree of accuracy a past infection of the person from COVID-19. “This is a critical function of RST not doable by PCR. RST is an excellent tool to diagnose the general health of the community, while PCR for the individual patient,” Bioco said. In the event of intercepting by RST a healthy person that went through the disease undetected, we have the opportunity to conduct contact retracing, isolate, contain and mitigate and stop the cluster from breaking out (that otherwise PCR screening alone cannot do). Reports also claim that most of the transmission of the virus is by asymptomatic persons. Thus, it is important to cast a wider net to catch the virus, and do it fast.

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In first virtual council meeting RDC-X endorses 2021 regional budget

March 30, 2020

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – An estimated P272 billion in priority programs and projects for Fiscal Year 2021 were endorsed by the full council of the Regional Development Council of Northern Mindanao on 20 March 2020. The supported budgets include 115 catalytic projects (P140.415 billion), projects under the Convergence Areas for Peace and Development program (P48 billion), activities targeted for the Sustainable Development Goals (P76 billion), as well as statutory budgets for  Gender and  Development, Persons with Disability, and Disaster Risk Reduction/Climate Change Adaptation (P57 billion) to realize the region’s goals and aspirations.     Budget allocation for the infrastructure sector had the highest share with P164 billion (60% share) for seven regional line agencies (RLAs). The social sector had 32% with P87 billion for nine RLAs and nine state universities and colleges (SUCs).     The economic sector proposed a budget of P15 billion (6%) for 12 RLAs; and the macro sector submitted P5.5 billion (2%) for 13 RLAs, including those in the security sector agencies.     The body also approved the creation of the Special Regional Committee on the Sustainable Development Goals under the RDC-X. This committee will monitor the progress of programs aimed at contributing to the achievement of the SDGs by 2030.     To support evidence-based decision making, four policy research studies covering poverty, education, and peace, security and safety were endorsed. The research studies will be undertaken by the region’s SUCs.          hese include the establishment of the Philippine Research Center for Bamboo under the Niche Center in the Region for Research and Development; the installation of a Regional TV Station to be housed in the Philippine Army - 4th Infantry Division Camp; and the construction of the Government Communications Academy in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon.     Through the assistance of the Department of Information and Communications Technology-Mindanao Cluster 2, the RDC-X Full Council conducted the first-ever virtual meeting in the country.  Around sixty RDC-X members, local chief executives and district representatives joined the video conference.     “We made a big leap today in improving the way we do things through innovation and futuristic thinking, while supporting the government’s effort to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 through social distancing in meetings,” said RDC-X Vice Chair and NEDA-X Regional Director Mylah Faye Aurora B. Cariño. The council also welcomed Dr. Modesto Babaylan, its new Co-Chairperson for the private sector, who co-presided over the meeting. RDC-X Chairperson and Misamis Occidental Governor Philip T. Tan lauded the use of available technologies which allowed RDC-X to continue its policy and development work during the community quarantine and urged the agencies to employ similar means to save on resources. Earlier in the meeting, DOH-X Regional Director Adriano Suba-an shared brief updates on the COVID-19 measures and status in Region X. Local leaders expressed both concern and support, calling for a region-wide set of protocols to contain the spread of the disease.  This recommendation and related concerns were discussed in the region’s Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases meeting in the afternoon of the same day. (NEDA-X)

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Nast Health Sciences Division Statement: Scientific Research and Development as drivers to win the race against COVID19

March 30, 2020

The current CoViD19 problem caused by the SARS CoV2 virus has raised and continue to raise issues on how programs and strategies can better control and prevent the escalation of the problem. With the recent declarations of the World Health Organization that COVID 19 is already a global pandemic and the implementation of community quarantine and subsequently extended community quarantine initially involving the National Capital Region and eventually the whole of Luzon, we expect greater urgency for countries to implement programs and strategies to stem and arrest this epidemic.      Almost all of these countries, and the Philippines is no exception, have proposed novel and sometimes radical measures as possible solutions. Almost all of them, however, are not based on scientific studies but largely on expert opinion and what we think worked and did not work during the SARS problem in 2003 and the pandemic influenza global pandemic in 2009.     Being caught in the midst of this ongoing epidemic and the consequent rapid rush of research institutions, both in the private and the public sector to find the magic cure for this disease, whether it be a drug or a vaccine to prevent transmission and infection of the virus, the research community should galvanize and unify efforts to spearhead researches that will address current health issues brought about by the CoViD 19 problem.     Dealing with and confronting this problem will require a whole of government-led approach with involvement and engagement of the private sector and the general public. Networking and collaboration among and within these different groups will be the key.      Researches, in particular, will be critical in the fight against the CoViD 19 recognizing that this is a new disease with a potentially different behavior, progression and effect on the health of individuals, the community and the nation as compared to the other emerging pathogens     We, at the National Academy of Science and Technology, fully support the current research initiatives of the government and the Department of Science and Technology.      In the face of limited resources and paucity of knowledge concerning the virus and the disease it causes, researches are being developed and implemented in collaboration with various research groups both here and abroad to address various aspects of the CoViD19 problem. In the light of all these, we propose that the following researches be done or enhanced to identify and implement the most effective measures to address problem of CoViD 19 in the following areas:     1) In the area of epidemiology, modelling studies , which are mostly mathematical, may help us better understand how the epidemic will evolve.      Input of health data into these disease models, as the epidemic progresses, will be very important to provide government planners scientific projections on how this epidemic will progress. The data generated will be very helpful in forward planning by concerned government agencies to anticipate, prepare and dampen the effects of this epidemic on different aspects of national life, including the economy.     2) In the area of diagnostics, whereas current tests are focused on the detection of the virus in affected patients, tests determining the presence of antibodies mounted by the human hosts should also be developed.      These antibody-based assays will help determine the patients who were truly infected, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic. It may catch the cases missed by the tests for detecting infection as these tests may have been done too early or too late in the disease.      The tests to detect antibodies will determine the true burden of disease and as well as provide added information on the infectiousness, transmission dynamics and progression of the disease. These tests may also be used for predicting chances for development of complications as well as mortality, especially if the antibodies are proven to be neutralizing antibodies.     3) In the area of therapy, the country should participate in clinical trials that would have already been initiated by other countries to help us better understand patient responses to this therapy and determine whether different genetic backgrounds, cultures and environment may affect patient response.      Moreover, participation in these multi-country studies can facilitate its availability in our country when the results become significant.     4) In the area of prevention and the development of vaccines, knowing more about the virus, its genetic makeup and how fast it mutates or changes will accelerate its development.      Characterizing the molecular and genetic structure as isolated from patients in the Philippines can be contributed to the international database that will serve as references for vaccine development. This will ensure that the vaccines developed can induce protection against all of the circulating SarsCoV2 viruses isolated from patients anywhere else in the world. 5) In the area of host factors, genetic biomarkers may be identified that may either predispose or make people less susceptible to the infection. They may also be used to determine risk for severity of disease and complications.     In all of these initiatives, sharing of information within and among scientists, researchers and institutions both here and abroad will help us build on each others’ strengths and accelerate the race for finding the solutions and the answers to many of our questions.     Ultimately, winning the battle would depend on how much and how good we understand our adversary- the Covid19 and the virus that causes it.      To many, the virus is like an unknown enemy that works silently easing its way among and through susceptible populations, evading detection and prevention. The experiences of many countries, whether good or bad, will serve as valuable learnings for all of us.      For one thing is certain, this epidemic will not be the only ones we will be confronting in the years to come. It has been established by scientists that in the area of zoonotic diseases that start from animal hosts before reaching humans, only half of viruses have been identified. Scientific research and development remain our most effective weapon to confront them and the SARS CoV2.

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