A new device in detecting Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus or SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) is in the works while unused digital broadcast spectrum as alternative to datacasting to help in the distance learning were the highlight of the latest Department of Science and Technology (DOST) weekly report.

In his latest dispatch, DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña said that the project will develop the microfluidic miniaturized PCR device (miPCR) for SARS-Cov-2 RNA amplification via FDA approved Covid-19 RT-PCR kits.

The project will help in developing a faster and cost-effective alternative to the RT-PCR test kits that are now being used by hospitals to detect Covid-19.

The project is funded by the DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD).

On the other hand, the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development rolls-out the technologies providing a seamless distance learning tool in the new normal.

In particular, DOST-PCIEERD through the DOST-Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI) is working on RuralSync- a project that enables the development of digital contents to remote communities using opportunistic spectrum access or operating on unused licensed spectrum from various television networks without affecting the broadcast.

According to Secretary de la Peña, the project will complement and enhance the current distance learning program of the Department of Education.

Recent news reports also showed the need to develop more outlets to deliver learning materials to students because of slow internet connectivity and the lack of electronic devices and learning materials that affect the students’ performance in class.  

Meanwhile, 13 research fellows and interns graduated from the two-year training course under the Policy and Systems Research Fellowship and Internship program.  

The program is a joint initiative by the DOST-PCHRD and the Department of Health.

The program aims to train young professionals in conceptualizing, developing, implementing, and communicating health research that has significance in the national and global health field. It also targets to help produce research-based outputs to aid policy making and legislations in support of the health sector.

Furthermore, the program aims to establish a pool of young experts in areas of health system research, policy, data analysis, research communication and management.

Finally, with the difficulties in conducting surveys, DOST also developed the Automated Electronic Survey System (AESS). The system enables institutions and organizations to have a platform in conducting surveys. The AESS is cost-effective compared to paper-based data collection and processing since it provides reusable standards base transparent framework of protocols.

“Ngayon kasi ang hirap magsurvey ng ikaw ay lalabas pa or face-to-face,” says de la Peña. With the survey system, organizations can now conduct surveys without the need for face-to-face interaction with the interviewees. 

The DOST Report is a weekly broadcast of the Science and Technology Information Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-STII) that highlights the various initiatives and innovations of the DOST aired live every Friday through the DOSTv Facebook page and Youtube channel.

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