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Japanese firm produces COVID-19 test kits in PHL

Arkray Industry Inc., a subsidiary of the Japanese firm Arkray Inc., has expanded operations to manufacturing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) test kits after gaining approval from the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) in September.

The company plans to increase its 500 employee workforce as it expands, the Board of Investments (BoI) said in a press release on Friday.

Priced at P1,600 each, the test kits have a 90-minute turnaround time for results. They have an accuracy rate of 90-98%.

“The kits however are currently produced only on a per order basis with the total production output depending on the demand of its clientele to maintain its accuracy considering its short shelf life,” BoI said.

The Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Reaction (RT-PCR) test kits (i-densy Pack Universal Reagent and SARS-CoV-2 Detection Primer Probe Set Reagent) are being produced in the firm’s Batangas facility.

The company is also considering assembling Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Reaction (RT-PCR) testing machines.

“Arkray’s recent business activity also reaffirms our competence to host activities in the production of critical medical products and devices in the country,” BoI Managing Head Ceferino S. Rodolfo said.

“Even during the height of the pandemic, the Philippines did not impose any export restriction of these products but rather helped capacitate the manufacturing firms to enable them to support both domestic and foreign demand.”

The government last week announced a price cap for RT-PCR tests. Private testing facilities can charge P4,500 to P5,000, while public testing centers can charge P3,800 per test. — Jenina P. Ibañez

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