Wed. Dec 1st, 2021

The utter inaction of our health officials is threatening the lives of more than 100 million Filipinos, as they appear to be leading the nation towards another disaster that may even surpass the infamous “Dengate” tragedy.

With the rising number of people infected and dying because of the dreaded Covid-19, rapid testing has become more crucial that even the United States Food and Drug Administration clearly recognized by approving the use of rapid Covid-19 testing, or the lateral method.

The US government is currently copying the South Korea drive-through Covid-19 mass testing by setting up tents on supermarket parking areas that will be used for rapid mass testing.

Department of Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire seems to be more knowledgeable than all the world’s scientists, medical experts and global leaders combined by insisting that the lateral flow method or rapid Covid-19 mass testing must not be used in the Philippines.

By insisting that only the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) method should exclusively be used for Covid-19 testing, Usec. Vergeire is placing herself on the stage of public pillory once deaths reach uncontrollable proportions.

She is making herself the sacrificial lamb for government incompetence, bureaucratic paralysis and regulatory backwardness. She, along with her bosses in the Health Department, will bear the brunt of a public storm.

Here are some questions I would really like to ask Usec. Vergeire:

1) Would you say the Chinese CDC (Center for Disease Control & Prevention) are knowledgeable with regards to best practices of the COVID19 given their success in handling the pandemic in China?

2)      If answer is yes, then why are you against rapid test kits when it is one of the recommended types (Serology Test) of tests kits recommended in diagnosis?

3)      If answer is no, is there any country in the world who has more experience than China with regards to COVID 19?

4) Are you aware that in the DFA list to the Chinese Government for donation of COVID 19 Test kits, several of them are Rapid test kits? It’s part of the 19 products approved by the National Medical Products Administration of China which were donated to the Philippines.

5) If you accepted the donations some of which are rapid tests does it mean that the FDA issued an exemption? Then why are you giving those same products additional requirements instead of fast tracking the approval?

4) Are you aware of the 4 requirements for issuance of the FDA certificate of exemption? They are LOI (Letter of Intent), LTO (license to operate), payment, product registration in another country. Why only now are you requiring rapid tests to undergo product testing with the RITM? Is there even staff to conduct the testing of over the 200 applicants. Why          only rapid tests and not all the PCR test kits? Why issue a certificate of exemption if they have to undergo product testing?

5) Are you aware if rapid test kits are allowed in other countries? Rapid test kits were used in China as first line of testing. It is being deployed too in Europe. Indonesia sent a Hercules military plane to China to pick up 1 million rapid test kits which they are now deploying and testing, the US has also started approving as of yesterday rapid test kits. Yet In this crisis where lives are stake, you are going against your own rule that you set and now requiring product testing.

6) Are you aware that your hands are now awash with people’s blood for every minute of delay to conduct Covid-19 mass testing that shall allow a more accurate mapping of the extent of the virus in communities? (ia/

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