MANILA – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has approved the Department of Health’s (DOH) guidelines for the use of rapid antibody test kits accredited for use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
In a virtual presser aired on state-run PTV-4 on Saturday, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the IATF-EID approved the guidelines during its meeting on Friday.
“The DOH guidelines for the utilization of rapid antibody test kits as presented and amended are hereby approved,” Nograles said.
The latest development came after President Rodrigo Duterte on April 13 ordered the immediate procurement of PHP3.3 billion worth of rapid antibody test kits to boost the country’s testing capacity amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Nograles said comprehensive details about the use of rapid test kits for Covid-19 would be released on Monday.
The results of rapid anti-body tests can be released in three hours. This is faster than the usual five to seven days it takes for Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests.
Nograles advised local government units (LGUs) to purchase FDA-approved rapid test kits for Covid-19.
“I know the LGUs have already purchased or are already in the process of purchasing. Ang tanging payo lang naming sa mga bibili ng rapid test kits, please lang po, ang bilhin niyo, yung mga in-accredit na ng FDA natin (My advice is please, buy rapid test kits that have already been accredited by FDA),” he said.
The FDA has so far approved the use of 16 rapid antibody test kits in the country.
Nograles said rapid tests for Covid-19 must be administered by a physician. He added that the doctor must wear personal protective equipment during rapid tests.
“Gusto naming doctor talaga ang mag-administer niyan ayaw naming yung false positive at false negative (We want doctors to administer rapid tests because we do not want to get results that are false positive or false negative),” Nograles said.
The Philippines still considers the use of PCR-based test kits as the “gold standard” for diagnosing Covid-19 infections.
The FDA has allowed the use of 27 PCR-based test kits amid the country’s fight against Covid-19. The Philippines now has 5,878 confirmed Covid-19 cases, with 387 fatalities and 487 recoveries. (PNA)