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DOH quality check on PRC laboratories part of regular process -Vergeire

The Department of Health’s (DOH) quality check on Philippine Red Cross (PRC) COVID-19 laboratories is part of a “regular process,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Saturday.

Currently, Vergeire said the DOH’s National Reference Laboratory— the body that ensures that laboratories meet the standards set by accreditation bodies— had gathered data and is currently waiting for more documents and specimens from PRC laboratories that are “in question.”

“Gusto ko lang ipaalala sa ating mga kababayan, ito naman po ay regular na proseso with the National Reference Laboratory. Nagkakaroon po tayo nitong regular quality assurance monitoring kung saan tintinginan natin ang mga bagay na ito dahil ang isang specimen o ang isang test ay maari po ‘yang maapektuhan ng maraming factors,” Vergeire said.

(We would like to remind the public that this is a regular process with the National Reference Laboratory. We are conducting regular quality assurance monitoring because several factors can affect a specimen or the results of a test.)

She explained that specimens are affected by different factors from the time that it was collected, the time it was tested, and the release of the results.

“So tinitingnan po lahat ‘yan so that we assure that all laboratories in the country have quality results na in-issue po,” she said.

(We are looking at all of these factors so that we assure that laboratories in the country are issuing quality results.)

“So that is part of the process. But this time, we are just trying to look into this matter para makapagbigay din po ng (so that we can give) further information to the Office of the President,” she added.

Amid the ongoing word war between President Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Richard Gordon, who also sits as the PRC chairman, the chief executive ordered the DOH to investigate alleged "false positives" among the COVID-19 tests conducted by the humanitarian organization.

Earlier, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine said it is looking into an incident in Subic where some hospital personnel tested positive for coronavirus but a retest three days later yielded a negative result.

Forty-nine health personnel initially tested positive for COVID-19 on September 3, based on the test conducted by a laboratory of the PRC, according to Deputy Speaker and SAGIP party-list Representative Rodante Marcoleta. However, after having a second test in a different laboratory, 44 of them tested negative.

Gordon had welcomed the investigation ordered by Duterte, expressing confidence in the tests that the PRC conducted as these were reported to the RITM. — DVM, GMA News