Duterte, Trump endorse rapid testing; PH OKs 1st US FDA-sanctioned kits
MANILA, Philippines — Despite the initial disapproval of the Department of Health, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte went ahead and advocated the procurement of rapid test kits to boost the country’s COVID-19 screening over the next three months, a strategy many other world leaders have recently implemented to great success.
The antibody test, currently receiving global attention, is American brand “Cellex,” distributed in the Philippines by LabX Corp.
Just hours after Duterte gave the full support of his office to rapid testing, US President Donald Trump endorsed Cellex in his national address. It was the only COVID-19 rapid test kit Trump mentioned.
Local government units and private corporations in the Philippines are now scrambling to empower and perpetuate rapid testing (in sizable numbers) in a cohesive effort to aide the government’s overall efforts to flatten the curve.
Doctor KC Halili, medical director of LabX and biotech firm DNA Holdings Corp., said that “with a sensitivity score of 93.8%, Cellex is the most accurate rapid test given both US and Philippine FDA authorization.”
Dr. Halili explains that the rapid test kits are meant to detect as many cases as possible and that Cellex is currently being looked at by many large and medium-sized companies to evaluate their employees before the lockdown period ends.
“Now that mass testing is approved, the rapid test kits will serve as an initial screening,” said Dr. Halili, adding that confirmatory tests should still be done as part of the overarching medical protocol of the DOH.
“Rapid antibody testing is meant to detect COVID-19 in a large scale of the population, both new and recovered cases that otherwise may have gone undetected due to having mild or no symptoms,” she added.
Inquirer also reached out to Franco Mabanta, LabX’ Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, regarding the test kits.
“It’s the simplest thing,” Mabanta explains. “A prick to the finger, a waiting time of 10 to 15 minutes, and you have your COVID-19 results. All at a competitive price and a currently unmatched 94% accuracy rate.”
“After a few days, when enough people are tested and more data gathered, we’ll get a much clearer resolution of the big picture,” confirmed Mabanta. “The apex objective here is to help our very capable government officials and medical professionals be better equipped to attack the problem correctly and with precision. This is fundamentally why we’re fans of what people like Joey Concepcion, Teddyboy Locsin and Harry Roque are doing.”
Cellex is the first Coronavirus rapid kit in the world to be given the green light from both the United States and the Philippine governments.
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