ALL six RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) machines in the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) sub-national laboratory (SNL) are in good condition and have been functioning well.
What was done manually, said Dr. Gerardo Aquino Jr., VSMMC chief, is the ribonucleic acid (RNA) extraction. To execute RT-PCR, RNA extraction, or the purification of RNA from biological samples, must be done first.
“There are multiple processes involved in the testing for Sars-CoV-2 by RT-PCR. One of them is the detection process where the RT-PCR machine is used,” he said.
“In the interest of the continuous operation of the SNL, we shifted to do the extraction process manually due to non-availability of supplies for automated detection and the inability of the supplier to provide soonest,” he said.
He said the supply issue is attributed to a high global demand. Apparently, the supplies for manual extraction were readily available; hence, the shift.
Aquino said it is not true that an RT-PCR machine used in its SNL for Covid-19 testing is broken as what was alleged. He said these matters were clarified in the May 18, 2020 episode of “Sotto Live,” their official Facebook platform of informing the public.
Dr. Jaime Bernadas, Department of Health-Central Visayas director, also echoed this, saying the SNL’s testing machines are running.
“The only problem for both labs, two sets ang kits needed. Two different PCR machines with individual compatibilities. One set can only run on specific kit. Dapat available for both to run (in) full capacity,” he said.
He said since these are donated machines and kits they just have to make use of them.
The VSMMC, he said, is clearing up testing backlogs.
As of 1 p.m. of Thursday, May 28, there were 248 pending samples at the VSMMC SNL. (WBS)