Vets trained on RT-PCR testing for ASF

The Department of Agriculture in Central Visayas (DA-7) on Tuesday said veterinarians from Regions 6 (Western Visayas), 7 (Central Visayas) and 13 (Caraga) underwent hands-on training on reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing for African swine fever (ASF).

The DA-7 conducted the training in cooperation with the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (US-DTRA) and DA-Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) to equip the veterinarians with technical skills and competencies in responding to the threat of ASF.

DA-7 said during the training conducted in Mandaue City, Cebu last week, veterinarians underwent a laboratory-based hands-on training, focusing on the proper techniques on molecular testing.

The training also prepared the personnel of the Regional Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (RADDL) in the three regions for an enrollment in proficiency testing and ISO 17025 accreditation.

Dr. Anna Marie Migrino, DA-7’s chief for RADDL, said the veterinarians went through a practical hands-on application of nucleic acid extraction and RT-PCR testing to hone their knowledge and skills to effectively detect agriculture biological threat agents such as the ASF.

"This is a continuous training of US-DTRA and the RADDL to improve our competencies especially on new technologies on how to examine ASF through the PCR," Migrino said in a statement.

Despite the threat of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), veterinarians are working to ensure that their regions are prepared and capable of conducting laboratory examination for any animal diseases like ASF, DA-7 said.

Migrino added that based on the results of the competency examination administered by the US-DTRA to the trainees, all have passed.

While this ensures that the veterinarians are now ready and prepared for any disease outbreak, DA-7 expressed hope that ASF will not infect Central and Western Visayas, reported to be among the remaining ASF-free regions in the country.

Source: Philippines News Agency