A scientific solution on wheels to detect animal diseases like the African Swine Fever (ASF) and Avian Influenza (AI) is on its way to Bukidnon.
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) - Business Innovation through S&T (BIST) Program funded the Mobile Laboratory Unit (MLU) equipped with state-of-the-art animal health diagnostic technologies. It was designed and created by a local veterinary research and diagnostics company known as BioAssets Corporation. The MLU will be donated to Central Mindanao University (CMU) in Maramag, Bukidnon on Friday, October 28, 2022 during a Grand Launching and Turnover Ceremony.
The mobile biocontainment laboratory, the first of its kind in the country, will initially provide service for both hog and poultry breeders in Bukidnon. An estimate of 5-10 farms per day requiring diagnostic tests for livestock can be served by the MLU. The test is equivalent to having 150 - 250 samples pooled and tested in one site. Its establishment will support rapid response to potential outbreaks and improve capacity building and disease surveillance that would enable farmers and veterinarians to craft mitigation strategies, preventive and control measures at the point of need.
The partnership between CMU and BioAssets Corporation, led by Dr. Homer Pantua, BioAssets Corporation CEO, BIST Project Leader, and Balik Scientist, and the creation of the MLU under the Science for Change (S4C)-BIST Program are essential pieces in the establishment of national program on disease surveillance. Such program will help the farmers by protecting their animals, and the general public by establishing preventive and control measures for potential zoonotic diseases.
The province of Bukidnon is recorded to have had the highest production of 137.28 thousand metric tons liveweight in 2021. Currently there are 16,007 backyard hog raisers and 71 commercial hog raisers across 22 municipalities. In December 2021, a total of 251 poultry farms have also been recorded to be operating in the province. With the significant number of hog and poultry raisers present in Bukidnon, it is necessary that the first-ever MLU be made available in the area to support their disease diagnostics needs.
The Science for Change-BIST Program provides financial assistance to Filipino private companies for the acquisition of strategic and relevant technologies so they can undertake R&D activities. The financial assistance, which may be used to purchase high-tech equipment or to secure technology licensing and/or patent rights, will be refunded to DOST at zero percent interest.