Pilot antigen tests in Baguio fail; gov’t looking at other virus test protocols | Inquirer News
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Pilot antigen tests in Baguio fail; gov’t looking at other virus test protocols

By: - Reporter / @KHallareINQ
/ 12:23 PM October 14, 2020

SEPTEMBER 23, 2020 COVID TESTING. High risk individuals, frontliners, and the most vulnerable undergo swab testing at Baguio City’s newly opened centralised triage system at the Baguio Convention Center last week. The national government sponsored testing targets to test at least 3,000 individuals in a span of 3-days. Photo Contributed by Jean Nicole Paus

MANILA, Philippines — The government is looking for other COVID-19 tests to screen tourists after the pilot study of the antigen testing in Baguio City failed, according to the spokesman of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 on Wednesday.

“Unfortunately, hindi po pumasa, so naghahanap po tayo ng testing protocol,” NTF spokesman Restituto Padilla said over the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum.

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(Unfortunately, it did not pass. So we are looking for another testing protocol.)

“Ang lumabas po dun sa Baguio… kasi sabay ho ginawa yung PCR test at tsaka yung antigen test. At ang lumabas pong resulta ay di ako nagkakamali, mahigit kalahati lang po tugma ng antigen test sa lumabas ng PCR-test,” Padilla added.

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(The results that came out of Baguio… it should be that the results of the PCR test and antigen test should be a match. However, if I am correct, only more than half of the the antigen tests matched those to that of the PCR test.)

“Gusto po ng DOH (Department of Health) ng at least 85 percent ang tugma (The DOH wants at least an 85 percent match),” Padilla added.

The antigen test is said to detect coronavirus molecules that trigger immune responses within 15 minutes. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) advised against using antigen tests for screening travelers.

Baguio City was chosen as the pilot city for the antigen test, where travellers are subjected to undergo both RT-PCR tests as well as an antigen tests to determine if laboratory results match.

As Padilla said that the pilot study in Baguio City failed, the government is now looking for other testing protocols.

“So humahanap pa po tayo ng bagong testing protocols na mabilis tulad ng saliva test, or breath test na maaring mapabilis  yung test sa ating mga mananakay sa airline industry at sa iba pang mga public transportation lalo na sa mga barko,” he said.

(So we are looking for other testing protocols that give fast results, such as saliva test or breath test that may will give fast results to passengers of the airline industry, as well as public transportation especially those in boats.)

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INQUIRER.net has reached out to Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong and DOH spokeswoman USec. Maria Rosario Vergeire to confirm Padilla’s statement, but has yet to get a response as of this writing.

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TAGS: antigen test, Baguio City, National Task Force against COVID-19, Restituto Padilla
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