Private labs for Covid-19 testing to open this week

By Ma. Teresa Montemayor

March 30, 2020, 2:04 pm

<p>Department of Health Undersecretary Ma. Rosairo Vergeire </p>

Department of Health Undersecretary Ma. Rosairo Vergeire 

MANILA -- Private sub-national laboratories that will run tests for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) will open within the week, an official of the Department of Health said on Monday.

"We're just waiting for the proficiency of St. Luke's Quezon City and BGC and then, there are still 30 laboratories who have provided with their letters of intent to become a sub-national laboratory," DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during the Laging Handa public briefing.

Apart from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), sub-national laboratories for testing Covid-19 were opened in Davao, Cebu, Northern Luzon and Metro Manila.

"Bukas po magbubukas na ang Lung Center of the Philippines ang ating last sub-national laboratory. Ang UP-NIH po ay nagbukas na rin (The Lung Center of the Philippines, our last sub-national laboratory will open tomorrow. The UP-NIH has also opened) last week," Vergeire said.

She added Singapore and other foundations from different countries will donate test kits within the week.

"Gusto po natin dumami ang ating mga ventilators or respirators sa iba't ibang bahagi ng bansa to prepare for that eventuality kung kakailanganin at tumaas ang kritikal na kaso dito sa ating bansa (We want to have more ventilators and respirators in the different parts of the country to prepare for that eventuality when they're needed and critical cases in the country go up)," Vergeire said.

The government is also looking into joining the solidarity trial of the drug to be used in fighting the deadly disease.

"Ito po ay inaalok sa atin ng World Health Organization [WHO] at ating pinag-aaralan kung sasali ang Philippine government o hindi para dito sa trial ng mga gamot na sinusubukan na maaaring makapagbigay tugon sa (The WHO offered this to us and the Philippine government is studying whether it will join or not the trial of the medicine that could cure) Covid-19," Vergeire said.

According to the World Health Organization, the solidarity trial will compare the safety and effectiveness of four different drugs or drug combinations against Covid-19.

The WHO described it as a "historic trial" which will "dramatically cut the time needed to generate robust evidence about what drugs work". (PNA)