More LGUs choose antigen tests to detect COVID-19

Published January 30, 2021, 2:41 PM

by Analou de Vera

More local government units are opting to use antigen tests to detect and prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), a testing advocate said. 

According to LabX Corporation Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jose Miguel Vergara, “more local government units are turning to faster, cheaper, and more reliable antigen tests” amid the fight against the pandemic. 

“[The] company has received more orders and inquiries for antigen test kits that boast of 96 percent sensitivity/accuracy and almost 100 percent specificity,” said Vergara in a statement. 

LabX is the official Philippine distributor of Sofia 2 manufactured by US-based Quidel Corporation as well as FINA and AgILA antigen tests made by Lansion Biotechnology Co. Ltd (Lansion) of China, he said.

“These diagnostic kits use Dry Fluorescence Immunoassay technology or machines with laser analyzers to detect the COVID-19 virus. Results are out in as short as 15 minutes and at almost half the cost of RT-PCR or Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction tests,” he said. 

Vergara said that the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) “listed Lansion among the companies whose COVID-19 in vitro diagnostic kits were granted a “CE” or European Parliament seal of approval.”

According to him, FIND is a “partner of the World Health Organization (WHO) responsible for diagnostic technology evaluation that helps guide health regulators and policy-makers worldwide.”

“With Lansion’s inclusion in the FIND list, LGUs and government agencies are assured that our products passed international standards and are recognized by WHO,” he said. 

Vergara said that these antigen test kits met the criteria of the Philippine Food and Drug Administration and were validated by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine. 

“FINA and AgILA passed all these requirements. Both have FDA approval; have 96 percent sensitivity and 99 percent specificity; and are included in the WHO-FIND list. Thus, we’re fully confident in supplying our antigen tests to help meet government’s massive testing requirements,” he said. 

“Currently, Sofia 2, FINA, and AgILA rapid antigen tests are being used by Malacanang and the Presidential Security Group, the House of Representatives, and a growing number of LGUs and private firms. Among the progressive LGUs incorporating the tests in their safety protocols are Coron, Busuanga, and El Nido in Palawan, Baguio, Aklan, Tacloban, Quezon, Camarines Sur, Tarlac and others,” he added.