RITM-NTRL shares results of three-year study on TB diagnostics
In photo: NTRL shares project result to stakeholders. 

The National Tuberculosis Reference Laboratory (NTRL) of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), together with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Eiken Chemical Co., Ltd, presented the results of the TB-LAMP Project to its stakeholders on October 25, 2019 at Diamond Hotel, Manila. 

The TB-LAMP or Loop Mediated Isothermal Application is a rapid and robust test for diagnosing pulmonary tuberculosis. The new technology is best suited for peripheral health centers as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to RITM-NTRL Deputy Head Dr. Ramon P. Basilio, there is still a disconnect between testing and identification of patients who are presumed to have TB in the Philippines. He emphasized that the introduction of this technology in the TB diagnostic framework hopes to strengthen the case finding of the disease in the country.

In addition, the study also revealed that the TB-LAMP showed good diagnostic performance both in a central laboratory setting and local field conditions. Intended users of the study also found the new technology easy to use.

The nature of the test is it should be placed at the point of care. I have heard no major issues in the maintenance of the machine,” said Dr. Basilio.

Aside from this, experiences from pilot sites were also shared in the forum. Dr. Eleuterio Magtangob of E. Aldana Health Center Las Piñas, Mary Ann Sangalang of Antipolo City Health Office Rizal, Jeb De Castro of San Jose Rural Health Unit Romblon, and Dr. Dorcas Umipig of San Lazaro Hospital brought with them the success and challenges that they have encountered in utilizing the TB-LAMP in their respective institutions.

Overall, the pilot site representatives confirmed that the TB-LAMP test was easier to operate with lesser burden on specimen collection and quicker turnaround time. The whole process alleviates heavy workload, leading to more samples getting tested and earlier treatment of identified patients.  

The forum became an avenue where the stakeholders raised concerns and recommendations that could significantly impact the integration of the technology in the country’s TB diagnostic framework. It also served as the culmination of the 3-year research collaboration of DOH, JICA and the private Japanese technology companies. The TB-LAMP Project started in 2016 with the aim to provide options in TB diagnostics and intensive case finding solutions. 

by Allenor Enciso, Communication and Engagement Office