Buhangin, Digos City receive first batch of anti-dengue kit from DOST

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/20 May) — The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) this week distributed to select local government units its locally-developed technology to trap and contain the spread of the dreaded dengue virus.

Dr. Anthony C. Sales, of the DOST regional office said Buhangin area in Davao City and Zones 1 and 2 of Digos City in Davao del Sur are the target recipients of the free kits, provided in limited number by the Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI), an attached unit of the DOST.

The DOST conducted its regional visit here on May 17 to roll out the information and distribution of the Ovi/Larvicidal (OL) Trap System, a technology to combat the spread of the Aedes mosquito, which carries the dengue virus. The technology uses a formulation in pellets and tablets intended to enhance the attraction of the treated water to the egg-laying mosquitoes.

Areas with high cases of dengue would be the first recipients of the free kits of larvicidal formula.

Dr. Teogenes F. Baluma, Davao regional director of the Department of Health said households with cases of dengue would be in the priority list of selected recipients although the DOST disclosed that it has already licensed a private company in Laguna to help double the production generated at the DOST laboratory.

Dengue was the leading cause of disease and death in the region, with 9,563 cases out of 19,957 cases in 2010.  A big number of these cases were In Davao City, at 7,034.  Talomo District accounted for 1,980 cases and Buhangin was second at 1,330.

The rollout program was the 11th provincial sortie of both the UP researcher and developer of the formula, Dr. Lilian A. delas Llagas, and the DOST experts led by Director Nuna Almanzor of the ITDI, which produced the pellets and tablets.

The DOST has clarified that the free kits would be handed out until the limited supply of 2,800 kits would be used up. The DOST has already granted license to a Bulacan-based company to manufacture the pellets and tablets that would treat the water where the mosquitoes would be lured to lay their eggs.

The ITDI was producing 44,800 sachets of the pellets and tablets per region per month.  It also allocated 2,800 kits per regional office for free distribution to identified beneficiary households and the DOST has assured that it would provide the pellets for free in the next six months.

The kit contains a small lawanit board and a pack of OL Trap pellets.  The user would provide the container, which would be a canister, a can of whatever food item like canned milk and processed food.  The can, recommended to be colored black or any dark color, would be filled with water mixed with the pellets. The lawanit board would be placed in the can with the rough side facing up.

The black or dark color of the can would help attract the dengue-carrying mosquitoes, while the mixture would help enhance its attractiveness to lay eggs. The mixture itself would kill the eggs. The mixture in the can should be placed in the dark corner, where the Aedes mosquito is known to breed. This may be placed for the next seven days.

Almanzor said the pellets and tablets would be commercially produced later and assured that it would be sold at an affordable price, based on its memorandum of agreement with interested companies.

“We are not supposed to engage in commercial production. It would be the work of the private sector,” she said. “We are just here to provide the technology and to show that it is effective.”

Llagas said the technology was inspired by a similar technology already developed in other countries.

Although the dengue cases went up sharply during the last three years, she said the UP research was started in the late 1990’s yet and later developed the locally derived formula using widely available resource, the piper nigrum, or the table paminta mixed with other substances.

The formula itself has been patented, and Almanzor said the DOST-ITDI would be open to exporting the pellets and tablets to interested business groups and governments.

Llagas said she tested the formula in both laboratory and field conditions, using 200 household samples.

The result of the study will be published in the Philippine Entomologists Journal, a scientific journal.

The DOST has so far presented the technology to 11 areas, mainly in the capital towns or chartered cities since January.

Almanzor said that many local governments have already received their kits and many of them have also been asked to adapt the OL Trap Systerm technology in their anti-dengue campaign. (MindaNews)