Only 14 facilities in PH may use rapid test kits for COVID-19
MANILA, Philippines — Only about 14 facilities in the country have been authorized to use the rapid antibody test kits for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the results of which can come out after only 45 minutes.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire explained on Wednesday that the machines for the test kits are already available in the country but the kits would still need molecular laboratories for it to be processed.
“We have facilities that are already prepared in processing our tests. We have 400 plus machines but only about 14 facilities can do this because we still need a molecular lab in order for us to process this,” she said in an interview over ABS CBN News Channel.
The test kits, which detect antibodies produced by the body when there is a presence of a virus, are not intended for personal use and must be administered by trained health professionals. Licensed physicians should likewise interpret the test results.
Confirmatory testing should still be conducted as test kits would only detect antibodies produced by the patient and not the virus itself. The patient could have a “false positive” or a “false negative result,” as earlier explained by FDA.
A false-negative result may occur when the patient that has contracted the coronavirus has not yet produced antibodies when the test was taken, while a false positive result could emanate when there are antibodies detected but it is not for COVID-19.
Vergeire said over 3,000 cartridges of the test kits are set to arrive in the country within the week.
The test kits will be supplemented by polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based tests, she added.
“We will be having a supplement or PCR-based test kits so that we can improve our testing capacity,” the Health official said.
The Department of Health (DOH) is aiming to conduct 8,000 to 10,000 COVID-19 tests a day so that the real-time situation of the pandemic crisis in the country could be determined.
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