PGH expands COVID-19 testing with new Lopez Group initiative

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 28 2020 12:50 PM

MANILA - The Lopez Group said Thursday it would help the Philippine General Hospital increase its COVID-19 testing capacity by 10 times.

First Gen Corp and ABS-CBN Corp will complete within the month an on-going donation of P46 million worth of new machines and lab equipment, bringing PGH's capacity to 1,500 tests per shift from 150, the Lopez group said in a statement.

First Gen is allowing the PGH, through the University of the Philippines, to use for free a system of laboratory machines for reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests.

The PCR test is the "gold" standard in detecting SARS-CoV-2 in a patient, Health Secretary Francisco Duque earlier said.

ABS-CBN is donating to PGH several automated molecular diagnostics platform known as BD Max that combines extraction and testing, shortening the process to 2 hours from 4 hours, the Lopez Group said.

“We are grateful to the Lopez Group for helping us fulfill our expanded role as a COVID-19 Referral Center. Armed with the right technology for detection, we can stay ahead of this virus through testing, isolation and treatment,” said PGH Director Dr. Gerardo D. Legaspi.

“By strengthening our laboratories, this donation will eventually allow us to serve COVID-19 patients not only from Metro Manila, but also from nearby provinces,” he added.

The government aims to bring the country's total testing capacity to 30,000 per day by the end of May. COVID-19 response deputy chief Vince Dizon earlier said the government planned to test at least 2 percent of the population or 2 million people.

“The machines from the Lopez Group, therefore, will play a vital role in detecting the virus and stopping its spread. These steps must be taken before we can safely re-open the economy,” said Dr. Januario D. Veloso of UP-PGH Central Laboratory. 

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