Palace: Gov't uses only COVID-19 test kits that conform to WHO, FDA, RITM standards

Published March 29, 2020, 10:44 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Genalyn Kabiling

The government only uses coronavirus testing kits that conform to global health standards and guarantee accurate detection results, a Palace official said Sunday.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles (Photo from Karlo Nograles / Facebook page / MANILA BULLETIN)
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles (Photo from Karlo Nograles / Facebook page / MANILA BULLETIN)

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles made the assurance to the public after appealing to donors to ensure their testing kits have obtained the approval of the Department of Health (DOH).

“We want to assure everyone that we will only use kits that we have properly reviewed and determined to be accurate and dependable,” Nograles said in a statement.

He said the coronavirus testing kits currently used in hospitals are consistent with standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO) and comply with the strict standards of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“In addition to this, all testing kits the government uses––whether they are given by members of the international community or donated by charitable organizations and individuals––are vetted by the RITM (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine),” said Nograles, spokesman of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Among the test kits that passed health standards are the 2,000 BGI RT-PCR test kits and 100,000 Sansure RT-PCR test kits donated by China, Nograles said.

While the government appreciates the donations, Nograles said they hope donors would get testing kits that have already secured DOH approval for faster deployment.

“It would be helpful moving forward if groups or organizations that plan to donate testing kits to the country secure the types of kits that have already been approved by the Department of Health,” he said.

“This way, these testing kits can be deployed faster, as opposed to different types of kits that may have to be thoroughly evaluated before they can be used.”

Nograles also extended the government’s gratitude for the generosity of the countries, private groups, and individuals that donated testing kits and other medical supplies needed to combat the coronavirus. China, Brunei, Korea, and Singapore are among the countries that have donated medical supplies to the country.

The health department earlier issued an apology for the confusion arising from its initial statement that it discarded test kits from China because they were only 40 percent accurate. It turned out that test kits were supposedly donated by a private foundation, not the Chinese government.

The Chinese embassy in Manila has rejected the “irresponsible remarks” about its test kits, insisting that such kits are “of high quality and standards and have no accuracy problems.”