The Philippine response to the COVID-19 pandemic has already been described as one of the slowest, longest, and least effective in the world by public health experts who based their observations on corrected COVID-19 data.
Yesterday, we hit a new all time single day high of 1,150 confirmed COVID 19 cases. That’s 789 fresh cases with 361 late cases, surpassing the single day high of 1,000 cases on May 29, 2020.
So far, it looks like COVID-19 charts tracking confirmed cases show a trend of infections rocketing skyward rather than going down or even flattening.
If the Duterte Administration doesn’t make major crucial changes in how the country’s COVID-19 response is being managed, UP Professor Guido David’s prediction of 40,000 cases by the end of June coming to pass. (Source: https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1289772/covid-19-cases-in-ph-could-reach-40000-by-june-30-up-research-team#ixzz6QFRlM387 )
What could spell the difference in managing the country’s COVID-19 response would be to detect positive cases faster and more accurately.
That should mean finding out if an individual is infected or had been infected with COVID-19 in a matter of hours instead of weeks on a scale large enough that could out pace and prevent the further spread of the disease.
This is where the use of COVID-19 Rapid Testing Kits should be crucially effective.
However, based on the recent statement of the Lower House Health Committee Vice Chair Congressman Michael T. Defensor, it seems the FDA is making a mess of approving COVID-19 Rapid Testing Kits.
“Dapat hindi labo-labo, and hindi dapat kung ano anong brand na lang ang pinayagan ng FDA. Dapat ipaliwanag ng FDA ang batayan ng approval nila,” said Defensor.
Defensor suggested that since it lacks the capacity to test RTK brands, it would be practical to approve the brands endorsed by its counterpart in China, the National Medial Products Administration.
The following RTK brands that passed NMPA’s scrutiny are:
- Guangzhou Wondfo
- Innovita Biological Technology Co
- Goangdong Hecin
- Vazyme Biotech
- Zhuhai Livson
However, even then, a source who further scrutinized the NMPA approved RTKs revealed the following:
Guangzhou Wondfo is identified with Senator Manny Pacquiao and Jack Ma is said to be extremely unreliable and of very low quality. It is banned in the US.
Innovita is made by US company but is banned in the US and is being sold to Third World Countries. According to the source, doctors have switched to other brands after trying it. Its sale, at least in the Philippines, is said to be Spearheaded by Joey Concepcion who also happens to be the Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship.
The source also named other brands and gave opinions of these brands:
Roche is said to be consistent but needs a lab here in the Philippines. It cannot detect IgM or infection at the time of testing.
Healgen, formerly known as Orient Gene, a Chinese brand that was banned in its own country because of its low IgM sensitivity.
Chembio was pulled from US FDA EUA.
CTK is not approved by the US FDA and has been banned in the US.
The source says that among the brands of Covid-19 Rapid Testing Kits, Cellex has been recognized as one of the best.
Dr. KC Halili of LabX which oversees the Philippine sales of Cellex, noted that their brand has “an accuracy of 93.8 percent and a sensitivity of 96 percent.”
They claim it qualifies it as the most excellent 15-minute test in the Philippines along with the distinction of being the first rapid test in the world to get authorization from both the US FDA and Philippine FDA.
However, despite Cellex’s gleaming reputation, it has so far shown up with a stronger communications game and looks like a giraffe lost in a forest of Chinese brands.
Even worse, it seemed to have been pitted against instead of being a complement to the gold standard COVID-19 RT-PCR test.
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