THE DEPARTMENT of Science and Technology (DoST) is planning to assist the local company that produces the Biotek-M™ Dengue aqua Kit to manufacture more for distribution to a wider area. “We are planning to help the company who is still in the initial stage of commercialization na mag– (to) produce ng additional numbers,” DoST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña said in an interview with BusinessWorld. He added that the department may also help in the distribution to hospitals. The test kits are made by Manila Health Tek Inc., a company formed in 2013 by a team led by Raul V. Destura from the University of the Philippines (UP), according to the UP website. Mr. Destura and his group developed the technology as a project under the DoST’s Philippine Council for Health Research and Development. The Biotek-M™ Dengue aqua Kit helps diagnose dengue after two or three days from the onset of the illness. The Department of Health (DoH) is set to roll out the dengue kits this week to 304 hospitals in Region IV-A (CALABARZON covering Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, and Quezon), Region IV-B (MIMAROPA covering Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan), Region 5 (Bicol), Region 6 (Western Visayas), Region 8 (Eastern Visayas), Region 9 (Western Mindanao), Region 10 (Northern Mindanao), and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). There will be one kit per hospital and each diagnostic session would cost P500. Last week, the DoH declared a national dengue epidemic after it reported a total of 146,062 dengue cases from January to July 20 this year. — Gillian M. Cortez