PCHRD Governing Council approves new set of R&D projects

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During the 125th Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) Governing Council Meeting last 5 October 2011, the following projects were approved by the Governing Council:

  • Study on the usefulness of microscopic observation drug-susceptibility (MODS) assay in a level II mycobacteriology laboratory in the Philippine setting;
  • Natural transovarial transmission of dengue virus in Aedes egypti mosquitoes in Cebu City;
  • Nutritional, therapeutic and prophylactic properties of Malunggay (Moringa olifera); and
  • Development, technical and clinical testing of Philippine-made volume-cycled mechanical ventilator.

“To date, there are now 29 new R&D projects approved for this year,” said PCHRD Executive Director Dr. Jaime Montoya. “As of September 2011, we have 12 completed and 65 on-going projects.”

PCHRD priorities for 2011-2016 include discovery of new drugs from natural substances, development of diagnostic kits for priority diseases, genome and molecular technology applications, ICT applications for health, development of hospital equipments and biomedical devices and functional foods research.

The study on the Usefulness of MODS Assay in a level II mycobacteriology laboratory in the Philippines is expected to produce a rapid, low cost and accurate diagnostic method in detecting tuberculosis. Through this project, the conventional 6-8 week period of TB detection will hopefully be reduced to approximately 1-2 weeks. This will improve disease management through early detection and application of appropriate treatment and will prevent or minimize the development of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in the country.

Meanwhile, the study on Natural transovarial transmission of dengue virus in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes will validate whether the acquired virus of an adult female mosquito can be transferred to its succeeding generations through “vertical route” transmission.

According to Dr. Frances Edillo, biologist and proponent of the project, the presence of dengue virus serotypes stock within mosquito vectors and their survival in non-epidemic period of the disease could serve as possible cause of disease re-emergence in areas previously exposed to dengue infection. “Monitoring natural infectivity of dengue mosquito vectors may serve as an important surveillance tool for virus prediction and prevention of dengue emergence.”

The study on Nutritional, therapeutic and prophylactic properties of Malunggay will isolate the anti-microbial, anti-parasitic, antihypertensive, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, immunostimulant, antioxidants and other bioactive constituents of Malunggay that can be used in treating various health conditions. The study also aims to prepare dosage forms of bioactive Moringa extracts and conduct pre-clinical studies on the dosage forms of bioactive Moringa raw materials and extracts.

On the other hand, the Development, technical, clinical safety and performance testing of Philippine made volume-cycled mechanical ventilator, seeks to design a cheap but safe and reliable mechanical ventilator as an alternative to the expensive ventilators available in the market which costs about 1 million pesos. “Through this project, we can somehow bring relief not only to the patients’ illness but also to their budget,” said Dr. Montoya. (Edmon B. Agron/PCHRD-DOST)

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