- Health workers have stated that the inaccuracy of the rapid tests may worsen the country’s situation.
- Spox Harry Roque insisted that other countries have successfully contained the spread of the virus by using rapid tests before swab tests.
Malacanang insisted on the usage of rapid antibody tests despite doctors calling for a stop of its utilization for COVID-19 testing, saying that it may worsen the effects of the pandemic in the Philippines as it is inaccurate.
On August 4, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque stated that the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is the gold standard for COVID testing but he insisted that rapid antibody tests are still useful for “initial screening.”
Aside from that, he mentioned that the Philippines’ supply of PCR tests or swab tests is not enough for 110 million Filipinos.
“May gamit po ‘yang rapid test na ‘yan. Ang mga lokal na pamahalaan kapag sila po ay nagpa-rapid test, kino-confirm nila ang mga positives through PCR. ‘Yung mga IgG positive hinihiwalay na nila ‘yan kasi hindi na sila infectious pero ‘yung mga nagne-negative pa rin pwede pa rin silang magpa-test. So it’s for initial screening,” Roque said.
Ever since the rapid tests were made available, the health industry has been warning the government against allowing businesses to use the tests to screen their employees who are returning to work. The Department of Health (DOH) also mentioned false-positive and false-negative results from the rapid tests.
However, Roque insisted that other countries have successfully contained the spread of the virus by utilizing rapid tests “in conjunction” with swab testing. He then added that PCR tests are also not 100 percent accurate.
“Iba’t-ibang bansa po ang gumamit ng rapid test kits in conjunction with PCR at lahat po ng successful sa pag-contain ng COVID-19 gaya ng Vietnam, gaya South Korea gaya ng pati bansang Japan—dahil sila naman po ang nagma-manufacture ng rapid test kits— at ng Tsina ay gumamit din po niyan,” he said.
“Having said that, sinabi naman po ng Presidente, walang debate, na ang pinakamagaling na test po talaga ay ang PCR test pero gaya ng lahat ng test hindi rin po 100% guaranteed ang PCR tests.”
Roque then claimed that there are also a lot of people getting false results using PCR.
The Philippines now has more than 113,000 COVID-19 cases with 66,049 recoveries and 2,115 deaths.