MANILA (UPDATE) - The Department of Health said Saturday some COVID-19 test kits sent by China were only "40 percent accurate" based on standards of the World Health Organization.
"Sa mga naunang pinadala samin na test kits from China, na nakapagpakita ng 40 percent accuracy, hindi po namin ito ginamit dahil nakita nga po na mababa po ang accuracy natin dito. Kaya ito na lang po ay atin itinago," DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a press briefing.
(The first test kits sent to us by China, that showed only 40 percent accuracy, we did not use because the accuracy rate is low. That's why we only stored them.)
Vergeire said health officials conducted parallel testing using the Chinese test kits plus test kits from the WHO, while using a specimen or sample from a COVID-19 patient,
Other test kits sent by various countries and groups were deemed accurate based on the WHO's standards, she said.
"Makakasiguro po ang ating mga kababayan na atin pong vina-validate pa ho ang ating mga donasyon na test kits bago ito gamitin. Makikita po natin dito kung ano ang off-quality at kung ano naman po ang mababa ang kwalidad at di dapat gamitin para sa ating mga kababayan," Vergeire said.
(We assure our countrymen that we are still validating our donated test kits before they are used. We'll see here which test kit is low in quality and to be used for our countrymen.)
Spain earlier said COVID-19 test kits supplied by a Chinese firm turned out to be defective, failing to correctly diagnose people when tested at hospitals.
The Spanish ministry said it will withdraw the kits that returned incorrect results, and would replace them with a different testing kit provided by Shenzhen Bioeasy.
Shenzhen Bioeasy however said in a statement that the incorrect results may be a result of a failure to collect samples or use the kits correctly. The firm said it had not adequately communicated with clients how to use the kits.
In its statement on Sunday, the Chinese embassy said it donated some 102,000 real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test kits, which were assessed by the RITM "to be at par with WHO-provided kits."
"Those test kits are of high quality and standards and have no accuracy problems, which are being used in Philippine test laboratories and have helped accelerate the testing process," it said.
DOH also later clarified that "the initial 2,000 BGI RT-PCR test kits and the 100,000 Sansure RT-PCR test kits donated by the Chinese government have been assessed by the (RITM) to be at par with test kits provided by the (WHO) after parallel testing were done."
"The test kits mentioned during the press briefing by the Department last 28 March 2020 referred to another brand of test kit that was proposed to be donated by a private foundation," the DOH said, adding, “Upon preliminary review of documents by RITM, subsequent validation was necessary.
s of Sunday, the Philippines has a total of 1,418 COVID-19 cases, with 71 fatalities and 42 recoveries. --With a report from Reuters