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Project Ark tries pooled testing to reduce costs

/ 05:34 AM June 19, 2020

Project Ark is funding a research initiative to determine how workers could avail themselves of the gold standard in COVID-19 testing by being tested in groups instead of individually.

The Philippine Society of Pathologists Inc. is doing the study on pooled testing, while the SARS-CoV-2 Testing Laboratory of the Philippine Children’s Medical Center will be used as site implementor, its press statement said on Thursday.

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In a pooled testing method, swab samples of multiple individuals are put into a single reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.

If a positive result comes from a single batch of pooled tests, further individual assessments will be made, Project Ark said.

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On the other hand, if the swab tests come back negative, then individual tests not need be undertaken.

The study aims to validate the accuracy of pooled testing using RT-PCR.

Project Ark PCR Initiative chief implementor and Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin said at an online press conference that the final cost would be determined by the results of the study.

Garin said the study aimed to drop the price of an RT-PCR test to P350, from the current price of P2,000 to P3,500, “depending on the outcome of the research.”

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TAGS: coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19 Philippines, health crisis, pandemic, pooled testing, Project Ark, Quarantine
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