Red Cross laboratory bolsters COVID-19 testing in Batangas

Published July 5, 2020, 3:38 PM

by Dhel Nazario

The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) can now conduct a total of 32,000 tests a day with the recent accreditation of the PRC’s molecular laboratory in Batangas City. 

Test tube with coronavirus name label is seen in this illustration picture. (REUTERS / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

PRC Chairman and CEO Senator Richard Gordon welcomed the laboratory’s accreditation which passed the  Research Institute for Tropical Medicine’s (RITM) proficiency test on Thursday and certified as an accredited COVID-19 testing center, 

“With testing being the key to get our economy going again, the accreditation of our laboratory in Batangas is a very welcome development as it would ensure that we can test more people,” he said.

“Thru testing we can prevent the further spread of the virus thru testing because we will be able to separate the infected people from those who are not infected so they can’t transmit the virus. But more than that, people who are already tested can already go back to his or her job,” he added. 

The PRC chief also reiterated his earlier call for rampant testing to be conducted in the different economic zones in the country to enable factories and other business establishments to resume their operations since their employees can go back to work if they have been tested.

“Kaya natutuwa ako dahil pwede nang magsimula ng operations diyan sa Batangas kasi marami tayong mga pabrika diyan, pati sa Laguna na malapit lang din sa Batangas. Ang tao, walang pambili dahil walang trabaho kaya binigyan ng pera ng gobyerno. Pero hindi pwedeng habambuhay bibigyan ng gobyerno ng pera. Kaya dapat makapagtrabaho na ulit. Ang sinasabi ko, para makapagtrabaho na, dapat kayo ay magpa-test,” he said. 

(That’s why I am glad that operations can begin there in Batangas because we have a lot of factories there, even in Laguna which is near to Batangas. The people have no money because of the work stoppage so the government provided them with cash assistance. But they can’t always rely on that, that’s why they need to go to work once again. What I’m saying is they need to get tested so they can return to work.)

The molecular laboratory in Batangas City, equipped with two automated ribonucleic acid extraction machines or Natch and four RT-polymerase chain reaction machines, is capable of running a total of 4,000 tests per day. 

Last June 27, the PRC inaugurated its largest molecular laboratory in its former national headquarters in Port Area, Manila. It is equipped with seven RNA extraction machines and 14 PCR machines and can complete a total of 14,000 tests in a day. Earlier last month, the PRC also opened similar facilities in Subic and Clark, which have a combined capacity for running 6,000 tests a day.

While last May, the foremost humanitarian organization opened its first two molecular laboratories in its national headquarters along EDSA. The facilities are capable of conducting 8,000 tests a day. 

“Once our laboratory in Batangas City is up and running, we will be able to test 32,000 people in a day. The more people we test, the faster we will ensure victory over COVID,” Gordon stressed.