New ICT test kit from Japan delivers rabies diagnosis in just 20 minutes


Veterinary authorities can now diagnose rabies cases in less than an hour from the usual two to three hour laboratory time, thanks to a rapid test kit developed by the government in partnership with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica).

In a news statement, Jica said the test kits called Immunochromatographic Test Kit (ICT Kit) were developed under the “Establishment of the One Health Prevention and Treatment Network Model for the Elimination of Rabies in the Philippines,” or “Japan and Philippines One Health Rabies” (JAPOHR) Project.

The JAPOHR project is a joint endeavor of Jica and the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Animal Industry (DA-BAI) that started in 2018 under Jica’s Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development (SATREPS), which promotes international research collaboration between Japan and partner-countries.

Jica explained the ICT Kit can quickly and accurately diagnose rabies in just 20 to 30 minutes, compared to the usual two to three  hours that a diagnosis takes through the traditional use of a microscope and an incubator.

“The ICT kits offer an innovative way to tackle rabies prevention and diagnosis in the Philippines. At this time when public health is an important issue in development, the test kits for rabies can contribute to the eradication of one of the common diseases in the Philippines and help improve the quality of life of people,” said Jica Chief Representative Azukizawa Eigo.

Dr. Saito Nobuo, deputy chief advisor of the project, said the project serves as an opportunity to share Japanese know-how in addressing diseases and other public challenges, especially since Japan has been able to eradicate rabies.

The ICT test kits were developed by Dr. Nishizono of Oita University and ADTEC, a Japanese pharmaceutical company seeking to provide the rapid rabies diagnosis tool in parts of the world where the disease is endemic, according to Jica.

“Jica vows to support the rabies prevention and control program in the Philippines for the next two years by providing said ICT kits for evaluation and providing necessary training to all regional animal diagnostic laboratories nationwide,” it said.

Jica noted that rabies is one of the oldest communicable diseases known to man with 59,000 people dying from the disease every year globally.

Citing the Department of Health (DOH), Jica pointed out that rabies remains a public health problem in the Philippines as it is responsible for the death of 200 to 250 Filipinos annually with one-third of which being recorded among children less than 15 years of age.

“The ICT Kits will be most helpful in the early detection of rabies, especially in high risk areas as well as in free areas,” said BAI-OIC Director Reildrin Morales.

JICA said the joint project has also developed the the Rabies Data Share System (RaDSS) that aims to enable the rapid One Health interventions such as contact tracing and ring-vaccinations by sharing data of rabid animals between the veterinary agencies such as Provincial Veterinary Office and Municipal Animal Office, and the human health agencies such as Provincial and Municipal Health Offices. 30

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