Manila: A coffee mug-size device developed by Filipino scientists is now in the country’s frontline in the campaign versus dengue.

Called the Biotek M, the device is an affordable rapid test kit for accurate detection of dengue infection.

“Dengue is dangerous when not treated early. The standard test for dengue, Polymerase Chain Reaction test, costs too high for the marginalised sector who are the most commonly affected by dengue infection. It also takes at least 24 hours to know the results,” Dr Raul V. Destura, project lead said.

Biotek M, which Dr Destura and his team from the Department of Science and Technology — Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) had developed, can detect dengue in as short as one hour. Likewise, it is more affordable and suited for developing countries like the Philippines which is confronting ballooning number of cases.

The project is part of the ‘Lab-in-a-Mug Project’ that had been under development from two years ago. Since its introduction, the project had been awarded with one of the gold medals during the 46th International Exhibition of Inventions at Palexpo in Geneva in April 2018.

In the Philippines, some 90 hospitals are already using the device as the number of people infected with dengue have reached 188,562 from January 1 to the first week of August alone.

Earlier, the Philippines has declared a dengue national emergency amidst the rising number of cases that had also resulted in the death of at least 720 people since the start of the year.

According to World Health Organisation, dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection with symptoms similar to flu-like illness. Early detection is crucial as the illness could lead to patient death if interventions are not taken immediately.