Sat. Sep 25th, 2021

MANILA – The Department of Health (DOH) is set to speed up the licensing of possible coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) testing laboratories, which are on the third and fourth stages of the licensing process.

“We have assigned specific teams to focus on labs, which are on stage 3 and (stage) 4 of the licensing process so we can guide them and expedite their licensing in the next two weeks,” DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Monday in a text message to reporters.

Vergeire said such action is geared toward the department’s goal to perform 30,000 tests for Covid-19 by the end of May.

The DOH has identified 17 laboratories that are “possible to be licensed” in the next two weeks. These include two laboratories from Philippine Red Cross which has a huge testing capacity, Vergeire said.

“Also in our existing labs, we have provided automated extraction machines which can lessen the time for processing of samples by four hours per run. And also, we have added additional RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction) machines in some of the labs. Hopefully with these efforts we can be able to expand capacity and reach that target,” Vergeire said.

To date, there 34 are RT-PCR laboratories and eight Genexpert laboratories licensed by the DOH to perform Covid-19 tests.

These laboratories are the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, San Lazaro Hospital, UP National Institutes of Health, Lung Center of the Philippines, St. Luke’s Medical Center-Quezon City, The Medical City-Ortigas, V. Luna-AFRIMS, Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory in Mandaluyong, St. Luke’s Medical Center-BGC, Makati Medical Center, Philippine Red Cross, Chinese General Hospital, PRC-PLMC, Philippine Genome Center-UP Diliman and Marikina Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory.

The other laboratories are UP-PGH Molecular Laboratory, Singapore Diagnostic, Inc., Asian Hospital and Medical Center, PNP Crime Laboratory, National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center, Ilocos Training Regional Medical Center, Jose B. Lingad Memorial Hospital and De La Salle University-Cavite.

Also accredited are Bicol Regional Diagnostic and Reference Laboratory, Western Visayas Medical Center, Allegiant Regional Care Hospital, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, Cebu TB Reference Laboratory, Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center, Zamboanga City Medical Center-DA Satellite Laboratory, Southern Philippines Medical Center, Divine Word Hospital and Tondo Medical Center. (ia/PNA)

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