To further boost its testing capacity for coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) on Saturday, Sept. 18, formally opened its 14th molecular laboratory in Cotabato City.
The newest addition to PRC’s molecular laboratories is equipped with two polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machines and one ribonucleic acid (RNA) extractor which can process up to 2,000 tests a day.
The new molecular laboratory is in partnership with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and will serve Maguindanao, North Cotabato, South Cotabato, and Davao City.
“I would like to thank the International Committee of the Red Cross for this partnership in defeating COVID-19,” PRC Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Senator Richard Gordon said.
Gordon noted that to date, the Cotabato Regional and Medical Center has the capacity to do 200 tests per day only. “The new Molecular Laboratory will further hasten our COVID-19 response and can test up to 2,000 tests per day,” he explained in a mix of English and Filipino.
Gordon along with PRC Secretary General Elizabeth Zavalla, PRC Cotabato Chairwoman Bai Fatima P. Sinsuat, Mayor Frances Cynthia J. Guiani-Sayadi and other executives from the PRC and local government unit of Cotabato attended the virtual inauguration of the newly built molecular laboratory.
Meanwhile, Gordon also emphasized the importance of “regular testing to beat this invisible enemy.” To make COVID-19 testing more accessible, PRC has lowered its only Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing fees for swab and saliva tests from 3,800-2,800 and 2,000-1,500, respectively.
PRC also continues to ramp up its vaccination efforts nationwide to get more people vaccinated as soon as possible through its “Bakuna centers” and PRC “Bakuna Buses” having inoculated over 217,808 individuals to date,