Davao drops rapid test kits for its low effectivity

Jun. 11, 2020

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The City Government has decided to drop the use of rapid diagnostic kits in the screening of persons entering Davao City, citing its low effectivity in detecting COVID-19 infection.

This was disclosed by Mayor Sara Duterte on her radio talk on Monday, as she said the low yield in rapid tests results is not worth the investment for the city.

In lieu of this, the mayor said the city they had increase the capacity of community surveillance of persons who have entered Davao, particularly overseas workers or those stranded from the two month community quarantine.

“What we did is intensify our community surveillance. The Rapid Diagnostic Tests are used in district health offices. The doctors decide who are to be tested in RDT or RT-PCR,” she said.

Local governments in Davao Region have also agreed to require residents travelling within the region to secure a medical clearance from city or provincial health offices, or from any hospital accredited by the Department of Health before they are allowed to travel to other provinces.

The decision to drop the rapid test kits was based on the data from the Department of Health Region 11 that showed that out of the 20,000 rapid test kits used in Davao City, only 95 had a positive result.

The rapid test kits only measures a patient’s antibodies through the blood sample. Persons that test low in antibodies are then made to undergo the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to verify if they are COVID-19 positive.

But the DOH 11 results also show that the results for PCR is much lower.

“There are only 35 cases who turned out to be COVID positive while 50 were negative and 10 pending results on the 95 who tested positive for RDT,” said Dr. Lenny Joy Rivera, Assistant Regional Director of DOH.

Rivera reiterated that the health department does not recommend the use of rapid diagnostic tests kits in detecting the coronavirus as antibodies are developed after 14 days. (davaotoday.com)

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