PH’s COVID-19 laboratories now at 30 with new GeneXpert labs

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 12 2020 08:18 PM | Updated as of May 12 2020 08:20 PM

PH’s COVID-19 laboratories now at 30 with new GeneXpert labs 1
Health workers prepare medical tools before a scheduled swab testing for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV2) to frontliners and residents at the San Juan Elementary School Gym in San Juan City on May 12, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The Department of Health announced on Tuesday that it has added four new facilities to the country’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) laboratories.

“Allegiant Regional Care Hospital and Asian Hospital & Medical Center are now certified laboratories that can perform RT-PCR tests for COVID-19,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque said in a social media post.

RT-PCR or reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction is the gold standard for COVID-19 testing, according to the Department of Health. Unlike rapid antibody testing, RT PCR labs process nose and throat swab samples from patients to match them with the COVID-19 virus’ genetic material. 

Two more GeneXpert laboratories under the Lung Center of the Philippines and the Zamboanga City Medical Center were also added on Tuesday, bringing the total number of COVID-19 laboratories in the Philippines to 30.

The GeneXpert laboratories use test kits that are still PCR-based but yield faster results. Tests reportedly run for less than an hour.

Increasing the number of COVID-19 laboratories in the country is part of the government’s strategy to increase testing capacity and in turn slow down the spread of the virus. However, lack of facilities and supplies have hampered these efforts. 

The government earlier failed to reach its goal of 8,000 tests per day by April 30. Starting Monday though, its licensed laboratories have been able to run more than 8,000 tests per day. 

The complete list of laboratories are as follows:

NCR

  • Research Institute for Tropical Medicine
  • San Lazaro Hospital
  • UP National Institutes of Health
  • Lung Center of the Philippines
  • St. Luke's Medical Center- QC
  • The Medical City - Ortigas
  • Victoriano Luna -AFRIMS
  • Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory
  • St. Luke's Medical Center - BGC
  • Makati Medical Center
  • Philippine Red Cross
  • Chinese Gen. Hospital
  • PRC-PLMC
  • Philippine Genome Center UP-Diliman
  • Marikina Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory
  • UP-PGH Molecular Laboratory
  • Singapore Diagnostic, Inc.
  • Asian Hospital & Medical Center
  • GeneExpert lab of Lung Center of the Philippines

CAR

  • Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center

Region III

  • J.B. Lingad Memorial Hospital

Region IV-A

  • De La Salle University - Cavite

Region V

  • Bicol Regional Diagnostic and Reference Laboratory

Region VI

  • Western Visayas Medical Center

Region VII

  • Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center
  • Allegiant Regional Care Hospital
  • Cebu TB Reference Laboratory

Region VIII

  • Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center

Region XI

  • Southern Visayas Regional Medical Center
  • GeneXpert lab of Zamboanga City Medical Center