Tue, 07 Jul 2020

DOH fast-tracks accreditation of 2 COVID-19 testing labs in Pampanga

Philippine Information Agency
25 May 2020, 18:38 GMT+10

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, May 25 (PIA) -- Department of Health (DOH) is fast-tracking the accreditation of two private hospitals in Pampanga on their application for the license of operating a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing laboratory.

DOH Spokesperson Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire disclosed that Green City Medical Center in the City of San Fernando and The Medical City in Clark are both on the third stage of the licensing process.

"This means that both hospitals are now at the stage of complying with the needed requirements on establishing the biosafety lab," Vergeire explained during Monday's episode of Network Briefing News on Radyo Pilipinas which was hosted by Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar.

Vergeire said that once the hospitals completed this stage, they will immediately conduct proficiency testing of its personnel for the Stage 4 of the process that will then lead to the final stage or the full-scale implementation of the laboratories.

She added that the Jose B. Lingad Memorial General Hospital located in the City of San Fernando, which has the first accredited COVID-19 testing facility in Central Luzon, is capable of doing about 3,000 tests a day.

"If individuals identified thru contact tracing are awaiting to be tested, they can be isolated first so we can assure they will not spread the virus in the community," Vergeire furthered.

Also, she reiterated that rapid anti-body tests are standalone tests needed to be validated with reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).

"For both discharged and recovered patients, we can use the anti-body test. If we have the chance to do RT-PCR, we can do so for recovered patients. But in screening or diagnosing who has COVID-19 or not, RT-PCR still needs to validate the anti-body rapid test results," she stressed.

Moreover, Vergeire revealed that there are various clinical trials of off-label drugs for COVID-19 treatments in the country.

"We have the World Health Organization Solidarity Trial wherein we have four drugs which are off-label that are now undergoing clinical trial among patients in our hospitals. We have 24 hospitals identified wherein 115 patients are already enrolled," Vergeire disclosed.

Qualified patients are those of more that 18 years of age and do not have any existing conditions that might not allow them from taking the off-label drugs.

"We also have this Avigan trial wherein the government of Japan has provided us the drugs. We also have identified hospitals for us to conduct these trials. These are the trials for medicine that we are currently undertaking right now," Vergeire said.

As there are no available vaccines against the virus yet, the DOH official urged the public to continuously abide precautionary measures of the government.

"Let's make it our responsibility not to spread the virus, to protect our family and the community, and to follow guidelines set by the government," she appealed to the public. (CLJD/MJSD-PIA 3)

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