MANILA, Philippines — Some ‘minor defects’ have been seen in the test kits made by the University of the Philippines – National Institute of Health (UP-NIH), according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
This prompted the agency to order the recall of all locally-made coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test kits and stop its use in medical facilities until the problem is resolved.
Specifically, FDA Director Eric Domingo said evidence of contamination had been traced in the reagents that were used in the test kits of UP-NIH; hence, they should not be sold or used for now.
The said locally-made test kits were approved for use by the FDA in April.
Nonetheless, Health Spokesperson Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire ascertained that the UP-NIH is soon to complete correcting the deficiencies in their test kits.
“They are in the final stages of correcting the identified deficiencies of the kits by RITM and hopefully by next week they can be re-validated by RITM and we can already use the UP testing kits,” Vergeire said.
As regards the rapid antibody test kits, Malacañang maintained that local government units (LGU) may still use the said kits despite claims by medical societies that the use of such would be a waste of resources when they only give false results.
According to Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry to Roque, the LGUs just need to confirm the results of the rapid antibody test kits through real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) test within the succeeding 14 days.
“Sa ngayon po, dahil po wala pa tayong sapat na kakayahan at dahil tayo po ay nagbi-build up pa lang ng capacity ng PCR testing, siguro naman walang mawawala kung ira-rapid testing natin ang gusting magpa-rapid testing at yung mga positive, ipa-verify natin sa PCR [For now, since we do not have enough capacity yet and we are still building up our PCR testing capacity, there’s no harm if we still proceed with rapid testing to those who request it, and if it yields a positive result, then have it confirmed through PCR],” Roque explained.
FDA-approved rapid test kits costs around P3,500 and up depending on the source company and the country of origin. MNP (with reports Aiko Miguel)
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