The Department of Health (DOH) said on Tuesday, Sept. 21, that the RT-PCR test is still considered as the gold standard in detecting the virus that causes coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“The DOH emphasizes that RT-PCR testing remains to be the gold standard for confirming the presence of SARS-CoV-2,” the department said.
The DOH made the statement after President Duterte claimed that there were complaints of “false positive” COVID-19 test results from the Philippine Red Cross.
“I also would like to ask, are your testing facilities and equipment really as good as you say they are? Because I have heard of many false positive cases from your laboratories. Can you enlighten the Filipino people on this?,” said Duterte on Monday night.
The DOH explained that “it is possible for test results from the same case collected at two different time points to vary.”
“[This is] potentially due to the timing of specimen collection (depending on the clinical course of infection) and other possible sources of variation in the pre-analytical, analytical and post-analytical phases,” the DOH said.
“The outcome of a laboratory test result is influenced by multiple factors, affecting all the phases of testing from pre-analytic, analytic to post-analytic (from specimen collection, specimen transport, specimen evaluation, nucleic acid extraction, testing, results analysis, verification and releasing),” the DOH said.
The DOH noted that all tests should be interpreted using the “epidemiological and clinical situation of the patient.”