Duterte wants DOH to probe Red Cross false-positive COVID tests

As his heated exchange with Senator Richard Gordon continues, President Duterte said the Department of Health (DOH) should look into reports of coronavirus (COVID-19) tests conducted by the Philippine Red Cross being false positives.

President Duterte and Philippine Red Cross Chairman Senator Richard Gordon (File Photos)

In his pre-recorded public address on Monday evening, September 20, the President questioned the claim of the PRC about their testing facilities.

"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," he said.

According to Duterte, there were many cases of false-positive reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests conducted by PRC laboratories. He said 44 out of 49 hospital personnel tested positive in PRC-Subic but later on tested negative in another molecular laboratory.

He added that in the Presidential Security Group (PSG), 187 out of 213 of the PSG personnel tested positive in the PRC-Manila laboratory but tested negative in their confirmatory test. Thirteen officials from the Department of Finance (DOF) have experienced the same.

President Duterte acknowledged that RT-PCR tests may not be 100 percent accurate but cited a Harvard article that states that most false-positive results are thought to be due to laboratory contamination or other problems on how the lab has performed the test, not the limitations of the test itself.

He said the DOH should look into the matter because this might have been putting more people in danger.

"Because of this information, it's accurate that maybe the DOH can investigate this matter. You could be putting more people at risk. You could be falsely adding to the total positive cases per day of this country," the President said.

"How sure are we now in our figures? How do you backtrack? If it is impossible, what do you intend to do?" he added.

Duterte lamented how there might be people who just accepted the result they got from the Red Cross because they don't have money for a confirmatory test.

" had to endure confinement of two weeks when all along, tested negative pala sila (they were negative)," he said.