16,000 COVID-19 test kits arrive in SPMC but lacking extraction kits

May. 13, 2020

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Despite the increase of its testing capacity for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases, the Southern Philippines Medical Center said they are lacking in extraction kits.

SPMC Chief of Professional Staff Dr. Ricardo Audan made this statement after the turnover of 16,000 real time-polymerase chain reaction test kits from the Inter-agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID) last May 9 and had received only 500 extraction kits from the Department of Health Region 11.

“Unfortunately, we do not have extraction kits,” he said. Audan said the extraction kits are expected to arrive within the week.

In Mindanao, the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) is currently the only COVID-19 reference laboratory authorized to perform the real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR), the molecular diagnostic testing by the World Health Organization for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) detection.

In a RT-PCR test, the extraction kits are needed for getting swab samples on genetic material from individuals to test for infection of SARS-CoV2. The extracted material will be combined with the solutions in the test kit.

Audan said that they only have buffer test kits for the use of hospital employees especially the front liners.

He said they are expected to accommodate more tests in Davao City as their testing capacity is increased to 250 to 300 persons in a day.

In reaction to this, the Coalition for People’s Right to Health explained that extraction kits come together in a set with test kits, and should be complete to effectively process Covid-19 swab samples.

They urged the Department of Health Central Office to establish proper coordination with testing laboratories with regards to ensuring that they have adequate testing supplies.

“Mass testing is useless if testing supplies are insufficient,” the group warned. (davaotoday.com)

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