PCR kits from China still need to undergo compatibility test

(Photo credit to Davao City Information Office)

THE donated 7,680 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) kits from the Chinese Consulate in Davao City would still undergo a compatibility test before these will be allowed to be used for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) testing.

The Chinese Consulate on Friday, May 15, handed over the PCR kits to Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio for the city.

Also donated were 5,000 antibody test kits, 1,500 personal protective equipment (PPE), 15 powered air-purifying respirators, 2,000 bottles of disinfectant, and 80,000 surgical face masks.

Duterte-Carpio said in a radio interview on 87.5 FM Davao City Disaster Radio the donated PCR kits would still undergo a compatibility test at the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) to determine if these match with the machines being used by the hospital.

“We need to check kung kani nga PCR test kits na gi-donate is compatible sa machine nga naa sa SPMC (We need to check if these donated PCR test kits are compatible with those being used by the SPMC), the mayor said.

She said SPMC, aside from being the sole Covid-19 hospital allowed in admitting suspected or positive patients, is also capable of Covid-19 testing, as accredited by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).

Once deemed compatible, the mayor said it will be distributed to the City Health Office (CHO), the agency that leads the community case finding, and contact tracing of individuals who are suspected to have contracted the Covid-19.

The mayor also said the antibody test kits would also be turned over to CHO.

SPMC medical professional staff chief Dr. Ricardo Audan, meanwhile, told SunStar Davao in a phone interview that they have not received any information about the donated PCR kits.

But Audan said they welcome the donation especially if these are compatible with those being used by the hospital.

“Dapat ang extraction kit, ang PCR test dapat mag-match siya sa machine. Kung dili mag-match, useless siya (The extraction kits and the machine should match or can be detected by the PCR machine used by the hospital, or else, the kits would be useless),” he said.

He said the rejected kits might only work on a different type of PCR machine.

Audan also said PCR kits are way more accurate compared to the rapid test kits, currently being used by the local government in its case finding.

“Rapid test kits can only detect anti-bodies, but it cannot detect the virus. The PCR can actually detect the Covid virus,” Audan said.

However, he said there is a short supply of PCR kits in the country and it is also expensive compared to the rapid test kits.

Meanwhile, the PPE will be distributed to the different district health offices, and to the Davao City Police Office and Task Force Davao, those in charge in the manning of the areas placed under lockdown.

The air-purifying respirators, disinfectants, and surgical face masks, on the other hand, will be distributed to the different city government offices.


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