THE United States, through the Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences (AFRIMS), led a two-week molecular biology training to strengthen the COVID-19 testing capabilities of Philippine medical technologists.
From June 1 to June 12, the U.S. Department of Defense’s Philippines-AFRIMS Virology Research Unit (PAVRU) trained four medical laboratory technologists at the Victoriano Luna Medical Center, the biggest Philippine military medical facility, on biosafety, biosecurity, respiratory sample processing and storage, and COVID-19 testing techniques.
PAVRU and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have maintained a strong partnership since the 2009 H1N1 pandemic outbreak, during which they worked to support disease testing in the Philippines. With the onset of the COVD-19 pandemic, PAVRU is once again working directly with and supporting AFP personnel in the fight against the disease.
During the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, PAVRU provided Victoriano Luna Medical Center with testing and laboratory supply support, including reagents, laboratory consumables, access to equipment, and guidance for molecular testing. In addition, PAVRU offered technical guidance as the Medical Center designed, renovated and equipped a dedicated COVID-19 testing laboratory that includes biosafety cabinets, centrifuges, and biomedical freezers. With PAVRU support, Victoriano Luna Medical Center and its personnel have completed nearly 3,000 COVID-19 tests on behalf of the AFP.
AFRIMS is an overseas laboratory of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, headquartered in the United States in Silver Spring, Maryland. Since 1893, WRAIR has worked to reduce the impact of some of the world’s most debilitating diseases.