Valenzuela orders closure of virus lab for offering swab test sans permit
MANILA, Philippines — The city government of Valenzuela ordered on Friday the closure of a molecular laboratory after it was found offering reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests without authorization from the Department of Health (DOH).
On Twitter, Valenzuela City government also announced the suspension of the business permit of the two branches of the laboratory in Barangay Karuhatan.
LOOK: Valenzuela LGU issues the immediate closure and suspension of the business permit of Bestcare Medical Clinic and Diagnostic Center, Inc. in Brgy. Karuhatan today, January 29, after receiving reports that the establishment has been offering RT-PCR swab tests with no license pic.twitter.com/wdIyulU5LS
— valenzuelacity (@valenzuelacity) January 29, 2021
“Valenzuela LGU issues the immediate closure and suspension of the business permit of Bestcare Medical Clinic and Diagnostic Center, Inc. in Brgy. Karuhatan today, January 29, after receiving reports that the establishment has been offering RT-PCR swab tests with no license as an accredited COVID-19 testing facility,” read the tweet.
The city government said the laboratory management violated “provisions of RA 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concerns Act for failure to report COVID-19 test results and for allegedly releasing RT-PCR results with no license as a COVID-19 testing laboratory.”
In a text message to INQUIRER.net, Mayor Rex Gatchalian said the two branches were “misrepresenting” test samples, which were being processed in another molecular laboratory in Bulacan province.
“That [Bulacan] lab denied that they were running the samples in their PCR lab,” said Gatchalian.
In addition, the mayor said the laboratory was conducting antigen tests, not RT-PCR tests.
“Turns out this lab in Valenzuela, was misrepresenting, and only doing antigen tests but saying the samples were ran using PCR (and charging PCR rates),” Gatchalian said.
In a previous television interview, PRC biomolecular laboratories chief Paulyn Ubial said antigen test and Covid-19 rapid tests sometimes would provide false-negative test results in detecting SARS-CoV-2, causative agent of Covid-19.
Gatchalian said they will coordinate with DOH to determine the clients of the virus laboratory “and assist them accordingly using city health standards.”
To date, the DOH granted a license to operate to 162 RT-PCR laboratories and 49 GeneXpert laboratories. Bestcare Medical Clinic was not included in the official list of the health agency.
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