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Even while dengue cases in the country are decreasing, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) continues its fight against the dreadful disease. DOST held a training to capacitate its regional focal persons on the School-based Roll-out of the Ovicidal Larvicidal mosquito trap last 12 October 2011 at the Metrology Conference Hall, DOST Compound, Bicutan, Taguig City.

The training was facilitated by Dr. Lilian de las Llagas, entomologist and public health professor at the University of the Philippines Manila. Dr. de las Llagas discussed the scientific framework of the DOST-OL trap program, its concepts and applications to dengue vector control and surveillance in a classroom setting.

Dr. de las Llagas began the lecture by defining the nature of a vector. It is an arthropod (insect, mite, tick) that is capable of acquiring and supporting the development and transmission of a pathogenic agent (bacteria, viruses, parasites) from one host to another host. In the case of dengue transmission, Aedes mosquito species is known as the prime vector because it has the exact DNA or enzyme that supports the development of dengue virus inside its body.

“It is also important to understand the behavior of Aedes mosquito for the application of necessary control measures like the DOST OL mosquito trap. Only female mosquito bites,” said Dr. de las Llagas. “They suck blood from the victims from sunrise to sunset. This makes the OL mosquito trap significant in the school because most of the children, the most vulnerable dengue victims, are in the school during this span of time,” Dr. de las Llagas added.

Another characteristic of the female mosquito is that it can fly 50 meters to 300 meters (flight range) from its favorite containers to the areas where they could find blood meal. “Though mosquitoes are highly domesticated, a mosquito laying eggs in a nearby community might go around the schools to find its victim.”

Mosquitoes love to rest indoor, under furniture or in lower portions of walls where there are curtains and shoe racks. Dr. de las Llagas also noted that mosquitoes rest outdoors, under the leaves, plant pots, inside of wells, piles of woods, discarded tires, poultry houses, and other dark and shady areas. “These are the areas where we could strategically place our traps,” said Dr. de las Llagas.

“The DOST OL mosquito trap is a technology that is proven effective. But how we use it makes a big difference. That is why this training is very important,” stressed Dr. de las Llagas. She emphasized the role of the regional focal person as key advocacy partners of the program in the regions. “As trainers, understanding the basic concepts is crucial because you can’t train the teachers if you don’t have enough knowledge and understanding about the technology,” explained Dr. de las Llagas.

The School-based Roll-out of the OL trap Program aims to distribute the DOST OL mosquito trap to approximately 900,000 classrooms in pre-elementary, elementary and high schools nationwide. To date, DOST has already distributed a total of 34, 910 OL traps in the National Capital Region (NCR), 41,286 in Region I and 5,190 in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

After thorough evaluation and review, the Scopus Content Selection and Advisory Board (CSAB) announced that Acta Medica Philippina is accepted for inclusion in Scopus, the world’s largest online abstract and citation database designed to increase researchers, librarians, productivity through its built-in functionalities that can be used to tract, analyze and visualize research.

Scopus is one of the respected science repositories, containing more than 45 million records or references from more than 18,000 peer-reviewed journals and trade publications all over the world.

The Scopus team commended Acta Medica Philippina for being a well-presented journal with credible editorial policy focusing on loco-regional content. “Acta Medica Philippina has a very good stand in terms of content and this should be supported,” the Scopus team said in an email to the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD).

“Acta Medica Philippina should focus particularly on high quality standards of locally sourced and relevant papers,” added Scopus team.

Acta Medica Philippina is the national scientific journal published through the collaborative efforts of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (PCHRD-DOST) and College of Public Health of the University of the Philippines Manila (CPH-UPM).

Resource speakers during the Metro Manila Health Research Development Consortium (MMHRDC) Research Forum. (From Left): Engr. Jean Rosete of EMB-DENR, Dr. Josephine Tolentino of SLMC and Dr. Jubert Benedicto of PCCP.

In celebration of the National Lung Month, the Metro Manila Health Research and Development Consortium (MMHRDC) held a research forum with the theme “Healthy Lungs, Clean Air, Good Life” last August 26, 2011 at the Manila Doctors Hospital.

 

 

 

The forum gathered researchers and experts from the 23 member institutions of the consortium to provide a venue for research collaboration among stakeholders.

 

 

 

Engr. Jean Rosete, Chief of the Air Quality Management Section of the Environment Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) presented the “Status of Air Quality in Metro Manila.” Engr. Rosete reported that the sources of air pollution in Metro Manila are natural and man-made or anthropogenic. Man-made air pollutants are from mobile sources like motor vehicles, industries, and area sources like open burning, building constructions and paved roads. Based on the National Emission Inventory conducted by the DENR, most (86%) of the pollution load comes from motor vehicles.

 

 

 

“In response to the findings of the inventory, DENR intensified its anti-smoke belching campaign. We also implemented the garage testing of public utility vehicles, intensified industrial monitoring, and information and education campaign in coordination with Local Government Units (LGUs) to undertake those activities.” said Engr. Rosete.

 

 

 

Dr. Josephine Tolentino of St. Luke’s Medical Center tackled “Personalizing Treatment for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: IPASS Study.” Her study proved that the drug Gefitinib is superior to carboplatin-paclitaxel as an initial treatment for pulmonary adenocarcinoma among nonsmokers or former light smokers in East Asia. The presence in the tumor of a mutation of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene is a strong predictor of a better outcome with gefitinib.

 

 

 

Dr. Jubert Benedicto, Chair of the Council on Tuberculosis of the Philippine College of Chest Physicians (PCCP) discussed his research entitled, “The Incidence of Active Tuberculosis Among Health Workers with Latent Tuberculosis Infection in Tertiary Hospital Setting.” The study revealed that health care workers (HCWs) have a high prevalence of latent TB infection (LTBI) and low incidence of active TB.

 

 

 

According to Dr. Benedicto, “This was a cohort study done over two years involving HCWs assigned in the medical wards and medical intensive care units in ten tertiary hospitals. The findings of the study might have implications in screening and employment policies among HCWs and infection control strategies that should be employed in these tertiary settings.”

 

 

 

In her closing remarks, Dr. Lulu Bravo, Chair of the MMHRDC Steering Committee and the Executive Director of the University of the Philippines-National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) expressed her appreciation for the efforts of the consortium in promoting research.

 

 

“We need more forums like this to motivate more people to do research. I encourage everyone to publish your researches for us to be more competitive with our ASEAN neighbors.” said Dr. Bravo.

The ASEAN Subcommittee on Biotechnology – Philippines is holding a consultative meeting of the ASEAN member countries for the proposal development on impact of climate change on emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases on October 20, 2011 at the Dusit Thani Hotel, Makati City.

 

 

The meeting aims to discuss the challenges to climate and ecosystem change, share information on ongoing program/projects, researches and initiatives, and identify a priority area for joint research collaboration that will address the ASEAN region’s need to study the impact of climate on vector-borne disease outbreaks.

 

 

A collaborative research proposal is expected to be developed addressing the ASEAN region’s need to study the impact of climate change on vector-borne disease outbreaks through the use of modern day predictive technologies and to find a long-term regional solution to the climate change problem.

 

 

Expected participants are the delegates from the ASEAN Member States, namely: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

 

 

This initiative is spearheaded by Dr. Jaime C. Montoya, National Focal Person for the Philippines of the ASEAN Sub Committee on Biotechnology, and the Executive Director of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (PCHRD-DOST).

 

Funding for the whole day activity will come from the International Commitment Fund (ICF) administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

2011 Winners of the PCHRD-Gruppo Medica for Undergraduate Thesis in Herbal Medicine.

Winners of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD)-Gruppo Medica Award were recognized during the Metro Manila Health Research and Development Consortium (MMHRDC) research forum last August 26, 2011 at the Manila Doctors Hospital.

Three undergraduate students were awarded for their studies on herbal medicine that have shown potential for commercial applications.

Third prize was given to Ms. Luisa Gillian Angeles of the University of the Philippines Diliman, Institute of Chemistry for her study entitled, “Xanthine Oxidase Inhibitory Activity of Mimosa pudica.” Mimosa pudica, more commonly known as “Makahiya,” was found to contain flavonoids which are essential in the treatment of gout. With this finding, Makahiya can be a possible alternative for allopurinol, a clinically approved drug used to treat gout.

Second prize went to Ms. Kristin Joyce Santos, Ms. Abegail Santillan, Ms. Chari Jane Rosales of the University of Santo Tomas for their research, “Fruit juice of unripe saba (Musa paradisiaca L.) inhibits free radicals, prevents lipid peroxidation and improves lipid profile.” The study showed that unripe saba can be used as a dietary supplement to reduce the risk of diseases associated with oxidative stress and hyperlipidemia.

First prize was awarded to Mr. Luis Tani, Mr. Leland Ustare, Mr. Von Luigi Valerio of the University of Santo Tomas for their project entitled, “A critical assessment of the cytotoxicity, hypoglycaemic and antioxidant potential of the ripe fruit of Musa sapientum var. saba on human fibroblasts in vitro.” Results of the study revealed that the crude aqueous extract of ripe Musa sapientum var. saba exhibits remarkable properties both as potentially effective antioxidant and as a probable nutraceutical agent for diabetics in the Philippines.

The PCHRD-Gruppo Medica Award provides motivation for students to view undergraduate thesis not merely as an academic exercise, but as an excellent opportunity to contribute to the national agenda.