WHO discourages COVID-19 antigen test for travellers, DOH revising guidelines
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) will revise its guidelines on the use of COVID-19 antigen tests after the World Health Organization (WHO) advised against its use for screening travellers.
According to the WHO, the use of antigen tests is not advisable for border screenings, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Monday.
“Magkakaroon ‘yan ng effect sa ginagawa nating guidelines. ‘Yung ating omnibus guidelines with the use of antigen na sinama na natin ay mababago rin dahil sa ebisenyang ito,” she said in an online media forum.
(This will affect the guidelines we are drafting. The guidelines on antigen testing will be revised as a result of the WHO’s findings.)
The government earlier allowed the use of antigen tests as a substitute for the gold-standard real-time polymerase chain reaction tests or swab tests when traveling to local destinations.
The DOH was supposed to release its guidelines for antigen testing this week.
With the WHO recommendation, however, it has to present revised guidelines to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).
Vergeire said the health department is eyeing the release of the revised guidelines by next week.
The DOH has yet to study the issue further as there are studies that support the use of antigen tests for screening.
“Titingnan natin because there are also other evidence na pino-point out naman na maaari namang gawin but there are specific conditions,” Vergeire said.
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.