SPMC gets P18-million molecular laboratory

DAVAO CITY - An P18-billion molecular laboratory inaugurated here Saturday morning is seen to boost the testing capacity of the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) by four times. 

(Photo courtesy of Southern Philippines Medical Center Facebook page)

The facility, which is capable of  real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)  testing, was donated by the Metrobank Foundation (MBFI) and George Ty Foundation and constructed by the Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU).

The facility is also capable of running 200 samples a day with a result turn-around time of three operating days. 

"With this lab, we hope to quadruple the current testing capacity of the SPMC, especially as the burden caused by COVID-19 has been felt most acutely  by those in the margins of society," said City Mayor Sara Duterte in a statement read by Assistant City Health Officer Dr. Marjorie Culas.

"Increasing testing capacity will enable government to provide appropriate response especially to those most in need," she added.

Based on its statistics, the SPMC recorded 158 total tests for a day as the lowest number and 909 total tests as the highest between January 1 to January 8. In December last year, the highest number of total tests was 1,664 which was recorded on December 10. 

The AdDU has turned over the ownership and management of the molecular laboratory to the SPMC. 

"We understand that the SPMC will now take care of obtaining the necessary permit for its operation in the service of the people of Davao and of Mindanao," said Fr. Joel Tabora, SJ, President of the AdDU.. 

Tabora said the laboratory has its own generator and uninterrupted power supply units. 

"We were able to finish the project in 66 days despite inclement weather  in Davao City and the restrictions due to the pandemic," Tabora added. 

He said  approximately P1.3 million remains in excess of the funds donated for the construction of the facility.

Meanwhile, Alfred V. Ty, president of GT Foundation, Inc. and a trustee of MBFI, said the facility was their 10th molecular lab donation to date. 

"All these donations form part of over P308 million-contribution to Philippine nation's fight against COVID-19. To date, our accomplishments range from providing meals to immediate families, provision of Personal Protective Equipment for medical and non-medical frontliners nationwide, purchase of both RT-PCR as well as rapid testing kits among others," he said. 

Ty added that the inauguration also highlighted MBFI's 42nd Founding Anniversary this month.

"The inauguration of this molecular laboratory is a manifestation of our commitment  to continuously serve as an institution that readily responds to the needs of society during catastrophic events and health crises such as this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic," Ty said.