Hospital in Davao needs 1,000 more virus test kits

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 20 March) – The Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) will need 1,000 “test kits” for its polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machine for “diagnosis and identification” of suspected coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients in Mindanao, Dr. Ricardo Audan, SPMC chief of clinics and health energy, said on Friday.

In an interview, Audan said the tertiary government hospital would need more test kits in case the number of persons under investigation (PUIs) who would need to undergo the tests increases.

He said the 100 test kits from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Manila arrived on Thursday, but a verification done by the SPMC’s trained medical technologists found out that only around 80 of these kits could be used by the hospital.

“We have very limited test kits,” he said.

He said the hospital plans to purchase from one of the four government-accredited distributors, the only firms that produce test kits that are compatible with SPMC’s PCR machine, which provides a “real-time” diagnosis.

According to Food and Drug Administration Advisory No. 2020-409, the accredited manufacturers of COVID-19 test kits for commercial use are Shanghai GenoeDx Biotech Co., LTD- Shanghai, China; Beijing Applied Biological Technologies Co., Ltd- Changping District 102206 Beijing P.R; Seegene Inc. -Seoul, Republic of Korea; and Solgent Co., Ltd-3F, 32, Techno 6-ro, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon, South Korea

As of 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, Department of Health-Davao reported that of the total 96 PUIs in Davao Region, only 34 have been discharged and 59 were still in isolation at the SPMC in Davao City and Davao Regional Medical Center in Tagum City.

Of the 5,403 persons under monitoring, 584 have been cleared and 4,818 were still under observation.

SPMC chief of hospital Dr. Leopoldo Vega said the government hospital is the only medical facility recognized by the National Reference Laboratory as a satellite laboratory for Mindanao.

He explained that SPMC is the only hospital in Mindanao equipped with a PCR machine that allows real-time diagnosis of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

He said it usually takes 48 to 72 hours before they get laboratory results from the RITM, but once SPMC becomes capable hospitals could expect immediate results since diagnosis using the PCR machine is “real-time.” (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)