DOH warns those faking COVID antibody test results: You can cause further transmission

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 24 2020 11:30 AM

MANILA — The Department of Health on Friday said people who are making false rapid test results should realize that they are contributing to the spread of COVID-19.

“Dapat maintindihan ng mga tao 'yung pag-fake n'yan might cause the further transmission of diseases if we do that,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told reporters in a virtual briefing.

(These people should realize that faking documents might cause the further transmission of diseases if we do that.)

Vergeire said this after two individuals were arrested by the police for creating fake test results. A doctor has also sought the help of the police after he learned that the fake medical certificates used his name and e-signature.

Vergeire explained that the medical certificates pertained to the rapid antibody tests. Such tests require a confirmatory polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test from a laboratory.

The health official said PCR test results are directly e-mailed to the individual and the facility that requested it.

“Itong nangyari kahapon tinitignan natin kung paano mas maeensure 'yung rapid antibody ay hindi magkakaroon ng ganitong mga issue,” she said.

(With what happened yesterday, we are looking into how we can ensure that rapid antibody tests would not have this issue.)

She said local governments and institutions using rapid antibody tests will have to ensure the security of the results.

Vergeire said the results might need a barcode and other features such as those used for PCR test results.

“Sa rapid antibody tayo ay makikipagusap na so that we can prevent these kind of things,” she said.

(For rapid antibody we will discuss it so we can prevent these kind of things.)

The individuals found faking the medical certificates will be facing charges for the violation of Article 172 of the Revised Penal Code, which deals with falsification of documents.

Because of the cost and limited availability of PCR tests, companies and establishments have resorted to using rapid tests instead to ensure that their employees are not infected with COVID-19. 

Medical groups, however, have discussed the unreliability of rapid test kits.

Some local government units have also used antibody test kits for mass testing as community quarantine measures were eased with the gradual opening up of the economy.

Since the easing of the lockdown, there has been an increase in COVID-19 cases, especially in the National Capital Region.