By Ellalyn de Vera-Ruiz
The University of the Philippines (UP)-Mindanao on Monday has proposed a diagnostic program that will provide free testing for COVID-19 in the Davao Region.
The Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) in Davao City is currently the only medical facility in Mindanao recognized as a sub-national reference laboratory that can test for COVID-19.
UP’s program proposal includes the establishment of a P15-million biosafety molecular lab that will be attached to a hospital. It will also supplement the ongoing tests in the SPMC.
“To back up the existing facility in SPMC and to prepare for the unprecedented peak of outbreak of the disease, it is only imperative to consider the establishment of another diagnostic facility for faster and efficient diagnosis for coronavirus,” Philippine Genome Center (PGC) Mindanao Director Dr. Lyre Anni Murao said in a statement.
UP-Mindanao said the proposed lab will be made from two container vans—the easiest way to set up the facility—and equipped with a real-time polymerase chain reaction or PCR detection system and other equipment.
The facility will also be designed to handle infectious materials based on guidelines from the World Health Organization and the Department of Health.
When operating at full capacity at 96 tests per day, the monthly operational costs for the laboratory, which include procuring kits, reagents, and consumables, as well as costs for other requirements, will likely cost P10.3 million, UP-Mindanao said.