Test kits originally intended for tuberculosis patients will soon arrive in the Philippines to bolster the country’s testing capacity for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Department of Health (DOH) said on Wednesday.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire announced that the initial delivery of 3,000 GeneXpert test kits is expected to arrive on Saturday.
“Kukuha po ng karagdagang mga kit ang DOH ayon sa magiging testing capacity ng ating mga GeneXpert labs,” she said.
Sixteen laboratories nationwide have so far been certified to conduct GeneXpert testing, according to the health official.
Vergeire earlier explained that the kits can yield results in as fast as 45 minutes since the GeneXpert machine is automated.
"Mainam po ito dahil mas maraming specimen ang kaya nitong ma-proseso sa isang araw kumpara sa ating RT-PCR machines," she said, referring to polymerase chain reaction machines, which the DOH considers the “gold standard” in COVID-19 testing.
The department previously said that the GeneXpert kits will be used along with the test kits developed by the University of the Philippines.
Over 61,000 individuals nationwide have been tested for COVID-19 by the country’s 17 accredited laboratories as of Tuesday night, according to Vergeire.
The Philippines has recorded 6,710 COVID-19 cases with 693 recoveries and 446 deaths as of Wednesday afternoon.