The country has a newly certified facility dedicated to detect COVID-19 amid the spike in the number of infected individuals this month.
In Facebook post on Monday, the University of the Philippines-Los Baños announced that its COVID-19 Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory received its certification from the main center, the Department of Health-Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (DOH-RITM) on June 29.
“The #UPLB COVID-19 Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory (UPLB-CMDL) received today, June 29, its certification as a molecular laboratory that can perform independent testing for COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) by Realtime PCR from the Department of Health-Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (DOH-RITM),” the university said.
“Along with this, it was issued a license to operate for the year 2020 by the DOH Health Facilities and Service Regulatory Bureau,” it added.
The #UPLB COVID-19 Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory (UPLB-CMDL) received today, June 29, its certification as a molecular…
In its website, the university detailed that the certification and license to operate was issued after UP-CMDL’s six laboratory analysts and medical technologists passed the proficiency test for SARS-CoV-2 Detection by Real-Time PCR.
They garnered a perfect score of 100% “in tests on nucleic acid extraction, reagent preparation, and real-time RT-PCR of Multiple Targets.”
“The proficiency test is the last and final stage of the assessment process for COVID-19 testing centers that employ real-time RT-PCR, which is considered the gold standard in detecting the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in humans,” the statement read.
Dr. Rex Demafelis, vice chancellor for research and extension and chair of the UPLB Task Force Laban ng Bayan Kontra COVID-19, said that the facility will start accepting COVID-19 samples on July 6.
The laboratory, which will be headed by Dr. Ma. Genaleen Q. Diaz, will serve as a “subnational testing center” for residents in Laguna and other neighboring provinces.
As of June 29, the DOH said there are 72 licensed testing laboratories across the country.
Certification praised for timeliness
Meanwhile, the comments under the UPLB’s announcement was filled with congratulatory remarks for the much-needed development amid the COVID-19 cases surge.
The spike in numbers was reported around the same time as the national government eased the restrictions of high-risk areas to the general community quarantine starting on June 1.
On Monday, the DOH reported a total of 36,438 COVID-19 cases in the country and 985 of these were new cases logged.
Such figures are close to the prediction of UP researches who earlier said that the number of cases in the country could reach up to 40,000 by the end of June.
The World Health Organization also over the weekend announced that the Philippines has the fastest rate of rising cases in the Western Pacific.
Since the start of the lockdown last March, the public had been calling on the government to ramp up its testing protocols or to conduct mass testing.
However, last May, which was more than two months into strict quarantine, Malacañang modified the term and stressed that what they would be doing is called expanded targeted testing on vulnerable Filipinos, health workers, overseas Filipino workers and other frontliners.