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Early COVID-19 test kits from China only 40% accurate – DOH

The first Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID) test kits received from China were only 40 percent accurate, the Department of Health (DOH) said Saturday.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, however, said that these were not used. 

"Sa mga naunang ipinadala sa amin na test kits from China na nakapag-pakita ng 40 percent accuracy, hindi po natin ito ginamit dahil nakita na nga po mababa po ang accuracy natin dito kaya ito na lang po ay ating itinago," Vergeire said in a briefing.

The undersecretary, meanwhile, assured the public that the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine conducted parallel testing of test kits, and only those that produced the same results as the test kits provided by the World Health Organization were eventually cleared for use.

"Sa kaso po ng mga test kits from China, sabay po'ng isinasagawa ang test kits mula sa China at ang test kits ng WHO, gamit ang pareho po'ng samples or specimens na nailagay," Vergeire said.

"Makakasiguro po ang ating mga kababayan na atin po'ng vina-validate pa ho ang ating mga donasyon na test kits bago po natin ito gamitin," she added.

The efficacy of Chinese test kits came into question after rapid test kits from China produced inaccurate results in Spain and Czech Republic.

The Chinese kits' error rate in those countries allegedly ranged from 70 to 80 percent and health authorities in the said countries also suggest that the PCR test remains to be the most appropriate method for detecting early-stage infection.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines climbed to 1,075 on Saturday with a total of 68 deaths and 35 recoveries. — DVM, GMA News