Pursuant to Republic Act No. 10532 known as the Philippine National Health Research System Law, the Philippine Health Research Ethics Board (PHREB) has set requirements for accreditation of all Research Ethics Review Committees (RERCs) in the country to ensure adherence to the universal principles for the protection of human participants in research.

Based on the guidelines issued on 02 February 2014, all RERCs which currently conduct review of research proposals must undergo accreditation by PHREB by 30 December 2015. All ERCs desiring Level 3 accreditation should apply before 30 April, 2015 to enable the PHREB Sub-Committee on Standards and Accreditation to schedule the applicant ERC for the accreditation visit before 30 December 2015.

As one of the implementing agencies of the Philippine National Health Research System, the Department of Health issued Department Circular no. 2015 - 0059 to facilitate the accreditation of all DOH RERCs and require them to apply before the set deadline.

DOH RERC MEMO 27 Feb 2015

Summer is the best time to have fun and travel. But, it is also the time to catch viruses like measles.


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 58,000 of suspected cases of the virus outbreak were already reported in the country with 21,420 confirmed cases and 110 deaths in 2014.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also added that 25 United States (US) travellers were infected with the virus after visiting the Philippines.


Among the symptoms of measles are high fever, cough, rashes, runny nose and red watery eyes. Some people can also experience ear infection, diarrhea, and pneumonia.


To avoid the outbreak, the Department of Health (DOH) conducts vaccination campaigns. One dose for infants aged 6-11 months and two doses for children aged 12 months and above are advised.


CDC also encouraged maintaining proper hygiene and cleanliness such as washing of hands, using sanitizer when soap is not available and covering mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.


Furthermore, consulting medical experts after experiencing the symptoms is recommended.


Further details about measles outbreak in the Philippines can be viewed at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/watch/measles-philippines. You can also visit http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/diseases/measles to learn more about the virus. ■

A formal agreement to set up the Philippine Biomedical Device Innovation Consortium (PBDIC) was sealed in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing ceremony during the 33rd anniversary of the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) held at Dusit Thani Manila Hotel on March 17, 2015.

Recognizing the need to develop affordable, safe, and reliable biomedical devices and products for research and development, the PBDIC aims to consolidate, design and implement activities that will support the biomedical device innovation ecosystem.

Some deliverables of the Consortium include monitoring inventory of available technologies, identifying gaps in biomedical device innovation and generating lab to market roadmap for Hospital Equipment and Biomedical Devices (HEBD) priority area under the National Unified Health Research Agenda (NUHRA).

The MOU was inked among representatives from the University of the Philippines System (UP), University of the East-Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center (UERMMMC), Technological Institute of the Philippines (TIP), Technological University of the Philippines (TUP), Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), University of Santo Tomas (UST), De La Salle University (DLSU) and Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT).


A photo opportunity with DOST Secretary Mario Montejo, DOH Undersecretary Vicente Belizario and
 PCHRD Executive Director, Dr. Jaime Montoya after the MOU signing ceremony with the PBDIC Members

Henipavirus, a virus that usually infect horses, caused human deaths in Tinalon and Midtungok villages, Sultan Kudarat, according to a study conducted by the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of Agriculture (DA), and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Henipaviruses include two members: Hendra virus (HeV) and Nipah virus (NiV). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HeV had caused a total of 11 outbreaks of acute respiratory diseases among Australia’s horses in 1994. Four of the outbreaks had infected the humans as a result of direct contact with the infected animal. The NiV, on the other hand, caused severe neurological and respiratory diseases on pigs, resulting to deaths of pig farmers in Malaysia in 1998.

As a response to the reports of human deaths in the two villages, 17 case-patients were interviewed and subjected to blood testing.

Results found out that virus transmission to humans was caused by direct exposure to infected horses, contact with contaminated body fluids during the slaughter of sick horses, and consumption of undercooked meat of infected animals.

Cases of human-to-human transmission, caused by not using protective gears during the contact with infected patients, were also discovered.

The study stated that the most likely sources of the horse infections were pasture and feed contaminated with feces, urine and other excretions of fruit bats (Pteropodidae family) found in one of the two villages.

Ongoing surveillance is encouraged to prevent future outbreak.

This study entitled “Outbreak of Henipavirus Infection, Philippines, 2014” is available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4313660/

Mr. Cruz, Dr. Calimag, Atty. Lutero, Dr. Domingo and Dr. Dela Paz as they answered the questions of the audience during the open forum.


“The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) integration will open opportunities and challenges for health research and innovation,” said Mr. Luis Cruz, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Office of ASEAN Affairs Assistant Secretary, during the 33rd anniversary celebration of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) on 17 March 2015 at the Dusit Thani Hotel, Makati City.

In a panel discussion, “Challenges and Opportunities of ASEAN Integration for Health Research and Innovation,” Cruz reiterated the goal of ASEAN integration in promoting active collaboration and providing mutual assistance among member countries. “The future of ASEAN is to bring greater quality of life to people through sustainable growth and development,” he emphasized.

Among the opportunities of the collaboration were trade-in services like Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) on medical transcription, ASEAN-Network for Drugs, Diagnostics, Vaccines and Traditional Medicines Innovation (ASEAN-NDI), research and development (R&D) on communicable and tropical diseases, highly-skilled workers and researchers, information technology, natural resources and biodiversity, and government and private support.

The problems like existence of tropical infectious diseases, political-security conflicts, lack of effective regional cooperation and shortage of R&D investment, on the other hand, can affect the growth of health research and innovation.

To combat the challenges with opportunities, Cruz recommended increasing Philippine competitiveness, developing research skills and infrastructure, increasing investment in R&D, and conducting health research in disaster management and emergency response.

Other health professionals who served as reactors during the discussion also encouraged establishing research centers in the country, uplifting both qualitative and quantitative researches, promoting education and information and addressing knowledge and development gaps.

They also called for people-oriented and people-centered ASEAN which is “a community where the needs of the people come first, where their views are enunciated, where they play a part in policy formulation and implementation, where they participate in nation and community-building, where they as stakeholders are assured that their voices are heard,” as explained by Cruz.

Among the reactors were Dr. Maria Minerva Calimag, Philippine Medical Association (PMA) President, Atty. Nicolas Lutero III, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Philippines Assistant Secretary of Health and Officer-in-Charge, Dr. Francis Domingo, Novartis Healthcare Philippines Chief Scientific Officer, and Dr. Edelina Dela Paz, Health Action Information Network (HAIN) Executive Director. ■