By Genalyn Kabiling
Malacañang has expressed concern about the inclusion of an alleged faulty brand of diagnostic test kit for the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the list of products approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said he would coordinate with FDA head Eric Domingo to discuss the test kits that were allegedly rejected by the United Kingdom and India. He cited the importance of the accuracy and efficacy of test kits to help determine if a person is infected with the coronavirus disease.
“Huwag po kayong mag-alala. Mamaya po tatawagan ko si Director General Domingo kasi nakatanggap na ako ng resulta na ang efficiency at accuracy ng raid test kits will determine kung siya ay magiging sandata sa COVID-19. (Do not worry. I will call Director General Domingo later because I have received results on the efficiency and accuracy of rapid test kits will determine if these can be used a weapons against the COVID-19),” Roque said during a Palace press briefing.
“Alam ko po mayroon isang brand na sinuka na sa Inglatera at saka sa India ay ginagamit pa rin po at nasa FDA list. Pagbibigay-alam ko sa kanya ito (You know there is a brand that has been rejected by England and India which are still being used here and are included in the FDA list. I will inform him about this),” he said.
Roque made the remarks when asked if the government will issue a recall of alleged faulty rapid antibody test kits reportedly being sold in the country.
The government has earlier endorsed the use of rapid antibody test kits to detect the potential coronavirus cases despite the resistance from some medical groups. According to Roque, the rapid test kits for coronavirus could be used given the country’s limited polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing capacity. Those who test positive in rapid testing will undergo PCR-based test for confirmation of infection.
So far, the FDA has released a total of 155 COVID-19 test kits, including 56 PCR based testing and 60 rapid antibody test kits.
Last month, Roque cautioned against the purchase of faulty coronavirus test kits, saying it was better to source medical supplies from reputable sources. He claimed that the United Kingdom bought Wondfo test kits, which were supposed to detect antibodies for coronavirus, but the kits reportedly did not work well. He said that such brand should be avoided when it comes to rapid testing.