UP Los Banos readies Bio-safe COVID-19 Testing Center

HSBC Philippines
University of the Philippines Los Baños is housing a COVID-19 testing center for Laguna and nearby provinces. Photo from UPLB

The University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) COVID-19 Testing Center has stepped up preparations for its operation as a bio-safe and bio-secure facility for Laguna and neighboring provinces.

The UP Los Banos COVID-19 Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory is being set up at the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (BIOTECH) where its National Immunological Testing Laboratory (NITL) Annex is being transformed into a Biosafety Level II (BSL2 enhanced) laboratory.

The UPLB SARS-CoV2/COVID-19 Testing Center is currently being retrofitted according to the strict and rigorous biosafety protocols and assessment set by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Department of Health (DOH).

SARs-COV-2 is known as the virus strain that causes COVID-19 or the coronavirus disease 2019.

The lab is equipped with rooms for a receiving area, extraction, preparation, and the PCR room.

UP Bio-safe COVID-19 Testing Center
UPLB’s COVID-19 mass testing team is preparing for the full operation of UPLB SARS-CoV2/COVID-19 Testing Center. Photo courtesy of UPLB.

Meantime, UPLB is readying its mass testing team to prepare for the full operation of the UPLB SARS-CoV2/COVID-19 Testing Center.

UPLB hired 6 registered medical technologists and engaged two volunteers from the UPLB Institute of Plant Breeding to complete the training course for the SARS-CoV2 Testing Training Program at the UP Manila -National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (NIMBB) in UP Diliman.

The team also completed the Online NIH Biosafety Course of the National Training Center for Biosafety and Biosecurity and also had their N95 respirator fitting at RITM.

The UPLB testing team also underwent hands-on training in inactivating samples upon reception, RNA extraction, and conducting the rRT-PCR test.

The testing laboratory to detect coronavirus disease infection is targeting mid-May to begin its operation.

The University of the Philippines Diliman (UP Diliman) has also agreed to house a COVID-19 testing Center for Quezon City, has set up a quarantine, and is offering free counseling to frontliners, patients and their families, and anyone severely affected by the health crisis.

UP Manila has also been in the frontlines with its Bayanihan Na! Operations Center Hotline and as the administrator of PGH, a COVID-19 referral center.

The DOH reports that the country now has 26 licensed RT-PCR laboratories and two GeneXpert facilities that are performing the tests.

UPLB is also promoting its Edible Landscaping garden model as a source of healthy food source during community quarantines to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease and perhaps as a way of life in the “new normal” once the lockdown is lifted.

With reports from Blesilda Dela Cruz

SEND WELL WISHES in the comments below to the UP Los Banos community for opening the campus facilities to a Bio-safe COVID-19 Testing Center.

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