Solon pushes for a review of DOH and laboratory COVID-19 tests

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Anakalusugan Party-list Representative Michael Defensor is calling for a comprehensive review of the accuracy of all the brands of coronavirus tests procured and used by the Department of Health and licensed laboratories in the country.

“We’ve gathered that there are some brands of COVID-19 tests that return up to 20 percent false-negative results, which is unacceptable,” the lawmaker said on Sunday.

Defensor also noted that the DOH and authorized laboratories might be putting resources into waste in repeating thousands of tests, because of large volume of inaccurate results.

This may lead to patients being falsely reassured they aren’t infected with the coronavirus, and these individuals “can contribute to the spread of the disease without them knowing it,” said Defensor.

Medical societies in the Philippines have also put their word against the usage of rapid antibody test kits, particularly for employers who want to test their workers. These might yield inaccurate results, especially for asymptomatic individuals, they said.

As of Thursday, the DFA has already approved 155 coronavirus test kits for commercial use. Of the total, 60 are rapid antibody test kits, 56 are RT-PCR-based, 36 are immunoassay, and three of other kinds. Only one of these test kits originated from the Philippines, which is the GenAmplify COVID-19 rRT-PCR Detection Kit.

Defensor also asked the DOH to release the number of COVID-19 tests that had to be conducted again due to inaccurate results, along with the cumulative number of tests that have been performed since March, for transparency’s sake.

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