MANILA - The Department of Health (DOH) is looking into the possible need to procure reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test kits for the monitoring and surveillance of monkeypox cases.
In a Viber message to reporters, the department said it is coordinating and discussing with the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and the Philippine Genome Center the laboratory requirements needed for the surveillance of monkeypox.
There are reports that test kit manufacturers in China have developed nucleic acid test kits for monkeypox.
If approved by the Chinese government, the kits will be mass-produced and sold.
"On the matter of procurement of any specific brands of RT-PCR tests for monkeypox, DOH will rely on scientific evidence to guide its decisions for procurement. We will provide updates once substantive developments have occurred," the DOH text message read.
As for the monkeypox vaccination, the department said it is not yet included in the National Immunization Program.
According to the World Health Organization, a vaccine for monkeypox has been developed but is not yet widely available.
The DOH is exploring all possible available sources and expedient legal methods for the procurement of monkeypox vaccines.
"At present, the DOH is preparing supply chains and logistics services. There are ongoing internal discussions, based on scientific evidence, for the possible acquisition of antivirals in the event of an outbreak of severe cases," the message read.
The DOH will conduct consultations and reviews with expert societies and development partners in terms of monkeypox vaccination, and priority population groups to ensure public safety.
To date, monkeypox has not been detected in the country but cases have been confirmed in Europe and North America and continue to spread in at least 20 countries. (PNA)