SPMC conducts study on the effectiveness of rapid test for COVID-19

The Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) is now studying the usefulness of the rapid test for COVID-19. 

The COVID-19 rapid antibody test is a blood test that identifies antibodies produced by the immune system as it develops immunity to the virus. 
This test can read immunoglobulin M (IgM), or the early immune response, and the immunoglobulin G (IgG), or the delayed immune response. A positive IgM test indicates that the tested person may have been infected, may still be infected, or may have recently recovered from COVID-19 infection. On the other hand, IgG antibodies indicate that the tested person could have had COVID-19 in the recent past and have developed antibodies that help protect the body from future infection.

Dr. Ricardo Audan, chief of clinic and Health Emergency Management Bureau (HEMB) of SPMC, said in a virtual presser that the ongoing research aims to study the correlation of the rapid test with the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).

The use of rapid antibody testing kits is being required by some local government units (LGUs) and government agencies to supplement existing screening procedures for persons suspected of COVID-19 infection, however, the test is not being recommended by some medical experts because these tests do not accurately tell if an individual is infected with the virus unlike the RT PCR that directly detects the presence of the virus’ RNA. 
Meanwhile, SPMC has boosted its testing capacity by a maximum of 1,000 tests per day after Ayala Group of Companies and San Miguel Corporations donated COVID testing machines early this month. 

SPMC has recently received 100,000 consumables for the RT PCR from the national government through the effort of Health Undersecretary for Special Concerns Dr. Leopoldo Vega.  
“These consumables are very important in using our automated and RT PCR kits kay  daghan ta RT PCR kits pero wala ta’y consumables for the extraction,” Audan said. 

During the last presser, Audan has announced that there was a shortage of extraction kits at SPMC and this new 100,000 is a big help for the hospital. In a RT-PCR test for COVID-19, the extraction kits are needed for getting swab samples on genetic material from individuals to test for infection of the virus. 

As of June 25, 2020, SPMC has an admission of 85 COVID-19 patients and out of this 85, there are 36 patients tested positive. There are also 85 patients admitted to other COVID-19 facilities in Davao City wherein 81 are tested positive. There are a total of 170 admission wherein 117 patients were tested positive. 

“For the past six days the trend of cases based on the data of SPMC is decreasing but dili ta makasulti na mag-rejoice ta because the reduction is fluctuating and not on plateau,” Audan said. 

SPMC has tested 2,729 employees through RT PCR where 2,607 already have results and 122 still awaiting results. As of June 25, 2020, there are a total of 17,064 tests conducted at SPMC including those patients who were referred.