News and Articles

Science chief bats for research-based techs to address dengue problem    

By: DOST-PCHRD/S&T Media Service

In the wake of the mounting reported cases of dengue in the country, Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) pushes for the use of DOST innovations and products to help in addressing this problem.

"Dengue research and development has always been one of the priority research areas in the country. This is stated in the Harmonized National Research and Development Agenda led by the DOST," said Sec. de la Peña.

"Through the DOST- Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, we have funded a number of research projects and programs consistent with the multi-prong approach in the control of dengue that address different aspects such as diagnosis and treatment," he added.

In the area of diagnosis, the development of a rapid diagnostic test for dengue is one of the researches supported by DOST. The kit, called Biotek M, can diagnose dengue as early as two to three days after the onset of illness.

"This will be very helpful in making the early diagnosis of dengue so that prompt management can be done to prevent complications," the secretary explained. "This will also help decongest the hospitals that are constrained to keep patients suspected to have dengue confined in the hospital for monitoring until the diagnosis is established."

Further, early detection can lessen the stress of patients and their relatives, he said.

This diagnostic kit is already available in a number of public hospitals. "We have asked the technology developer to make it available to the affected areas of dengue in cooperation with our regional offices and the Department of Health," Sec. de la Peña informed.

Aside from the diagnostic kit, the DOST is also funding the clinical trials for the evaluation of a possible herbal medicine for dengue. Said herbal medicine has shown multiple mechanisms of action, such as anti-viral activity against the dengue virus. It can also elevate the platelet levels which is very crucial. As observed in the complicated cases of dengue, low platelet count causes bleeding and reduction of plasma leakage which contributes to the lowering of blood pressure among the dengue patients.

The Phase I clinical trial is upcoming. When the clinical trial hascompleted up to Phase 3, it is ready to be certified and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).To date, there is yet no available therapeutic medicine for dengue anywhere else in the world.

According to Sec. de la Peña, the DOST has also supported the "development of herbal supplements that can help patients affected with dengue."

Said herbal supplements that include single and combination herbal preparations are already ready for submission to the FDA, he said.

"These herbs are derived from folkloric use and have passed safety and toxicity studies," he informed. "We have requested the technology developers to make this available at the soonest time possible after satisfying all the regulatory requirements. We are also coordinating with the FDA regarding this."