Gov’t cautioned vs using antigen testing for COVID-19 screening | Inquirer News

Gov’t cautioned vs using antigen testing for COVID-19 screening

/ 04:13 PM March 31, 2021
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(FILE PHOTO) Antigen testing. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

MANILA, Philippines — Former Health Secretary and now Iloilo 1st District Rep. Janette Garin cautioned the government from using rapid antigen testing to boost its coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) screening, saying the test is mainly used for symptomatic patients.

Garin made the remark after the Department of Health (DOH) announced that those who tested positive through rapid antigen testing in areas with a high number of COVID-19 cases—such as Metro Manila and its neighboring provinces—will now be included in the official tally of infections.

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“Ang rapid antigen testing ay ginagamit para malaman ng mga doctor kung ang pasyente nilang may sintomas ng COVID ay positive o negative sa SARS-CoV2. Essentially for symptomatics ito,” Garin said in a statement.

Garin explained that if asymptomatic patients tested negative, they should still undergo confirmatory RT-PCR test because rapid antigen testing has a false negative rate of about 40 percent.

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“Nauuso ngayon ang antigen testing dahil mabilis, pero huwag tayo makampante. RT-PCR test pa rin ang gold standard sa COVID-19 testing,” Garin said.

Other medicines

Garin likewise stressed the importance of prepositioning essential medicines during the pandemic such as COVID-19 investigational drugs Remdesivir and Tocilizumab.

“I have been receiving messages and calls asking for Remdesivir and Tocilizumab. In a pandemic, dapat prepositioned na ang mga gamot,” Garin said.

“Hanggang ngayon hirap pa rin maghanap ng gamot ang mga tao. Kailangan pa nila gumawa ng sariling paraan to source medicines na kung prepositioned na eh hindi sana naging problema,” Garin added.

Despite this, Garin cautioned the public against using Ivermectin for COVID-19, saying the anti-parasitic drug did not go through intensive study and clinical trial for use on humans.

“Hindi porke may narinig tayo o nabasa ay paniniwalaan na natin. Huwag naman natin sayangin ang efforts ng ating mga scientists,” she said.

/MUF

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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