/ 20 April 2021

THE DEPARTMENT of Health has given its approval for the Ateneo De Manila University- Molecular Pathology Laboratory (AMPLify) to operate.

The laboratory is designed with Biosafety Level 2 containment in accordance with the provisions of the World Health Organization and can detect SARS-CoV-2 using real time RT-PCR test.

“AMPLify is designed to provide service for routine PCR-based molecular diagnostic testing for Covid19 with increased testing capabilities with emphasis on faster turnaround time for results,” the university said.

Dr. Emilyn Espiritu, Director of the Ateneo Research Institute for Science and Engineering, said the laboratory will allocate 15 percent of its weekly income in administering free tests to identified marginalized communities.

“The purpose of the detection is either to confirm infection (i.e., risk-based swabbing) or for clearance required for other purposes like travel and employment (i.e., elective swabbing). We want to be more proactive in developing medical technologies and protocols and enhancing human capability to be ready in addressing future pandemics,” Espiritu said.

She added that there are many possibilities in research, training, and extension work that can be pursued in the laboratory.

“Not to mention the possible linkages with various local and international sectors that can be established through this lab. We have excellent scientists, researchers and experts who can benefit from this facility. Their work will be crucial in contributing to the university’s mission of service, especially to the marginalized sectors of the country,” the university official said.

Don Malabana, Operations Manager of AMPLify, said the laboratory intends to offer a training program for those who want to specialize in molecular diagnostic testing.

“We want to build enough human resource capacity as part of our preparation for future inevitable pandemics, but personally, I hope to never again experience a health care crisis of this magnitude,” Malabana said.

He said AMPLify was supported by top university administrators led by former University President Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin, current University President Fr. Roberto Yap and Vice President for University and Global Relations Fr. Jose Cruz.

“We also give credits to the counsel of top doctors and scientists in Dean Cenon Alfonso of the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health, Dr. Toby Dayrit, and Dr. Cris Lopez, among others. The university exerted great effort and resources getting this project done. Different offices of Ateneo came to our aid to make this project successful,” Malabana said.

Dr. Greg Cortez, AMPLify director, said that the team is also grateful to Temasek Foundation for its generous donation of equipment and state-of-the-art technology required for molecular testing.