Lung Center of the Phils. starts process to become COVID-19 testing center

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 31 2020 07:17 PM

MANILA - The Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP) has started to accept samples for testing for the novel coronavirus, marking the beginning of a process for it to become an independent testing center, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Tuesday. 

"Inaasahan po natin na nagbukas na ang Lung Center of the Philippines para tumanggap ng COVID-19 samples ngayong araw na ito," Vergeire told a virtual presser.

(We expect the Lung Center of the Philippines to start accepting COVID-19 samples today.)

"Dahil dito, aasahan na naman po natin na tataas ang daily testing capacity ng laboratoryo sa mga susunod na araw kapag na-validate na ng (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine) ang mga resulta po ng Lung Center of the Philippines," she added.

(Because of this, we can expect an increase in the daily testing capacity of the laboratory in the following days once the RITM has validated the results from the Lung Center of the Philippines.)

Vergeire explained that upon opening of a subnational or extension laboratory for COVID-19 testing, such as the LCP, its test results must first be validated by the RITM before it can be certified as an independent testing center.

"Ibig sabihin, magpapadala pa rin po ang Lung Center of the Philippines ng 5 positibong resulta at 10 negatibong resulta sa RITM. Iva-validate ng RITM kung ito ay pareho sa mga WHO standards natin para mabigyan ng certification para maging independent testing center na po ang Lung Center of the Philippines," Vergeire added.

(This means that the Lung Center of the Philippines will have to send 5 positive results and 10 negative results to the RITM. The RITM will validate these, if these adhere to the WHO standards, for the Lung Center of the Philippines to be issued a certification as an independent testing center.)

Other hospitals and laboratories are also in the process of seeking accreditation to become COVID-19 testing centers.

"Mula sa higit na 46 na public at private hospitals na nagsabi ng kanilang interes para magsagawa ng COVID-19 testing, ang proseso ng accreditation ng Bicol Public Health Laboratory sa Region 5 at Western Visayas Medical Center sa Region 6 ay malapit nang matapos," Vergeire said.

(Out of more than 46 public and private hospitals that expressed interest to conduct COVID-19 testing, the accreditation process for the Bicol Public Health laboratory in Region 5 at Western Visayas Medical Center in Region 6 is almost done.)

The Department of Health earlier said it was looking at tapping 30 additional laboratories and a "game changer" machine to detect novel coronavirus cases. 

The DOH has ordered COVID-19 cartridges from the US which will allow some 400 GeneXpert machines nationwide to test for COVID-19, said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III. 

As of Tuesday afternoon, the Philippines has a total of 2,084 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 88 deaths and 49 recoveries.

Countries around the globe have imposed strict travel measures to arrest the spread of COVID-19, which has infected more than 693,000 worldwide, with over 33,000 deaths, as of March 30, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).