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Test pa more! Pasig’s molecular lab ready to start operations next week

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MANILA – The Pasig City molecular laboratory has passed the final stage of the Department of Health’s (DOH) process for laboratory registration and certification, allowing it to operate starting next week.

Secretary Vince Dizon, National Policy against Covid-19 Deputy Chief Implementer, on Friday announced the good news during the visit of officials of the Covid-19 Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (CODE) team headed by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF) and NTF in Pasig City.

Dizon said the Pasig city government has passed the final proficiency testing for its molecular laboratory and now licensed to conduct testing for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

“I just want to congratulate Mayor Vico Sotto and the entire Pasig team dahil po yung laboratoryo sa (because your laboratory at the) Pasig City Children’s Hospital ay pumasa na (has passed). Congratulations,” he said, adding that the city government has passed the proficiency testing with only one take.

He said the DOH is set to release the city’s license to operate.

“Makakapag-test na po kayo (You can now conduct testing) starting next week,” said Dizon.

Meanwhile, Mayor Vico Sotto expressed delight over this development.

“This is the best news I’ve received this week,” Sotto said on his social media post.

Sotto congratulated the city’s molecular lab personnel for passing the test, which would help the local government to settle some recent backlogs on the Covid-19 testing.

“In the coming weeks, Pasigueños will feel the difference in the speed of testing and results,” he said.

Pasig City has been catering polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing and enhanced chemiluminescence immunoassay (ECLIA) testing.

Sotto has earlier explained that ECLIA, a method used for antibody test for Covid-19, has a sensitivity or specificity rate of about 100 percent if used properly and the test results will be readily available in 24 hours.

He added that the molecular laboratory can also be useful even after the pandemic.

The machines and other equipment installed at the laboratory could also be used to test blood samples for other diseases including as dengue, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), among others.

During the visit, the DOH also turned over face masks, personal protective equipment (PPE) gears, and hygiene kits to the local government, as part of the “Masks Para sa Masa program,” a government plan which aims to provide about 30 million free domestically manufactured washable face masks to Filipinos amid the crisis.