4 subnational labs to address backlogs in COVID-19 tests

By April 4, 2020 No Comments

MANILA, Philippines — Four subnational laboratories in the Philippines are now accredited to undertake individual testing of COVID-19 specimens, which could address the “backlogs” of previous cases, the Department of Health (DOH) said Saturday.

Health Undersecretary Rosette Vergeire said individual testing would mean that the laboratories would no longer need to send the samples to the Research Institute and Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Muntinlupa City for validation.

“Now that they have been given full certification, this would mean they do not need to send positive COVID-19 cases to RITM for validation. They can now release positive results on their own in the next few days,” Vergeire said in Filipino at a press briefing.

The said subnational laboratories with biosafety protocols are San Lazaro Hospital in Manila, Baguio General Hospital, Vicente Sotto Medical Center in Cebu and Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City.

Vergeire said the laboratories already conducted 80 to 160 COVID-19 tests per day in the past week. Meanwhile, the RITM has posted 900 to 1,000 tests per day.

The health official said the Lung Center of the Philippines in Quezon will also get certification for conducting COVID-19 tests on March 30.

Currently, there are 30 biosafety laboratories in the country who are undertaking certification stages from the DOH to allow more facilities to conduct confirmatory testing of coronavirus disease.

China test kits are validated

The health official also assured the public that test kits donated from China are not defective as the kits were validated through parallel testing with test kits from World Health Organization (WHO).

“The test kits that were given to us from China gave similar results with those from WHO, which is why we are using them,” she said.

Vergeire previously said 100,000 test kits from China will be distributed to the subnational laboratories for the testing of COVID-19 samples.

Edited by JPV

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TAGS: China, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Department of Health, Nation, subnational laboratories, test kits
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