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Group concerned about use of ‘inaccurate’ rapid test kits from China

/ 12:08 AM August 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The country should stop using rapid COVID-19 testing kits from China for supposedly yielding inaccurate results, consumer protection advocates said on Tuesday.

According to the Alliance for Consumers and Protection of Environment, Inc. (ACAPE), the fear is based on experts’ opinion that rapid tests are not fit for mass testing as some have yielded wrong results — which only resulted in more infections as people believed they had not contracted the coronavirus.

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“ACAPE is alarmed that no less than Philippine General Hospital Director Dr. Gerardo Legaspi warned that rapid antibody tests are not reliable in COVID testing,” ACAPE spokesperson Rhia Ceralde said in a statement.

“We call on the Department of Health to immediately review the China-produced rapid test kits for its accuracy and safety as it poses health risks to millions of Filipinos,” she added.

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Last Sunday, a Philippine General Hospital (PGH) team said that mass testing via rapid testing was not feasible and might even be counter-productive, as reliance on such kits meant coronavirus infections in the early stages would not be detected.

The Department of Health (DOH) also said that rapid testing was not ideal for screening workers as it had a wide margin of error that would yield wrong results.

ACAPE is not alone in questioning the accuracy of Chinese-made rapid test kits. In April, India withdrew an order for COVID-19 testing materials from China as several states said that the result of the kits could not be trusted.

In March, the DOH also revealed that testing kits from China were only 40 percent accurate, but it eventually apologized, saying that the kits were at par with those from the World Health Organization.

The Chinese embassy also denied these claims, saying that DOH made an irresponsible remark.  Instead, the said embassy insisted that the test kits donated were of high quality and that they were not yet assessed by local health authorities when they made the claim.

ACAPE went as far as to speculate that the spike in COVID-19 cases might have been brought about by a false sense of security that the false results provided.

“The inaccuracy could lead to the ballooning of COVID cases in the country as those who had been tested negative may actually be super spreaders,” Ceralde said. “ACAPE believes that the government should protect Filipino consumers against the proliferation of these faulty rapid test kits from China.”

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As of now, there are 169,213 confirmed COVID-19 cases nationwide, of which 53,665 are active cases. Deaths due to the disease is now at 2,687, while recoveries are at 112,861.

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TAGS: ACAPE, Alliance for Consumers and Protection of Environment Inc., China COVID-19 test kits, coronavirus pandemic, coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19, rapid testing kits
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