DOH: 3,000 COVID-19 test kits with 45-minute processing time to arrive Saturday
MANILA, Philippines — Some three thousand GeneXpert test kits, which can yield results for coronavirus infection in less than an hour, are expected to arrive in the country on Saturday, the Department of Health (DOH) announced Wednesday.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said DOH has already identified 16 laboratories nationwide that can conduct COVID-19 testing using the GeneXpert test kits.
She added that the government will procure more GeneXpert test kits depending on the testing capacity of the initial purchase.
“Inaasahan po ang pagdating ng GeneXpert kits sa darating na Sabado. Tatlong libo po ang initial na bilang ng darating at kukuha po ng karagdagang mga kits ang DOH ayon sa magiging testing capacity ng ating mga GeneXpert labs,” Vergeire said in an online press briefing.
(We are expecting the arrival of 3,000 GeneXpert test kits on Saturday. DOH will procure more depending on the testing capacity of our GeneXpert laboratories.)
“Mayroon na po tayong labinganim na laboratoryo ngayon sa iba’t-ibang bahagi ng ating bansa na natukoy na po ng Department of Health na maari nang makapagsagawa ng GeneXpert testing para sa COVID,” she added.
(So far, we have identified 16 laboratories nationwide that can conduct GeneXpert testing for COVID-19.)
This comes as the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), the country’s main COVID-19 testing laboratory, scaled-down its laboratory operations after 43 employees staff contracted the novel coronavirus.
GeneXpert test kits can reportedly provide results after 45 minutes — way faster than the real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test kits being used in 17 DOH-accredited laboratories nationwide which has a turnaround time of 24 hours.
DOH has ramped up its COVID-19 testing efforts with the government targeting to conduct 8,000 tests per day by the end of the month. The government is also eyeing to purchase about two million rapid test kits to complement its RT-PCR tests.
GeneXpert test kits are different from the rapid antibody tests that DOH warned could produce false-negative results.
But DOH has maintained that PCR tests are the “gold standard” for confirming if a patient has SARS CoV-2 or severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
So far, DOH reported that it has conducted 61,049 individual tests, 7,797 or 12.77% of which turned positive while 53,147 or 87% yielded negative results.
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