Manila’s second COVID lab gets approval
The machines that are being installed in the new laboratory will analyze 90 tests per hour, and the processes involved will be more extensive than in the first laboratory
Representatives from the Department of Health (DoH), World Health Organization, and Research Institute for Tropical Medicine have inspected the new RT-PCR (real time-polymerase chain reaction) Molecular Laboratory at the Santa Ana Hospital and have given their approval to the facility.
Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso said the laboratory, the second in the city, is bigger than the first COVID-19 center at the hospital.
The mayor said the new laboratory has state-of-the-art equipment and will enable the city government to administer a swab test to about a thousand individuals per day using the gold standard RT-PCR machine.
He thanked President Rodrigo Duterte, DoH, Department of Budget and Management and Ayala Corporation for helping realize his goal to have a second laboratory in the city to better address the pandemic.
The first COVID-19 laboratory at Santa Ana Hospital is able to test about 200 to 250 persons per day.
Dr. Grace Padilla, Santa Ana Hospital director, said the machines that are being installed in the new laboratory on the ground floor will analyze 90 tests per hour, and the processes involved will be more extensive than in the first laboratory.
However, the turnaround time for both laboratories will be the same.
Padilla explained the first lab was accredited as an Xpert Xpress SARS-Cov-2 testing lab where the entire system only requires a cartridge with the specimen to read it.
In the second laboratory, the virus extraction will be followed by amplification and other processes before being finally read by the PCR machine.
Last 6 September, Domagoso, Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna and Secretary to the Mayor Bernie Ang received a donation of two Sansure extraction machines, which are fully-automated nucleic acid extraction systems, effectively realizing the mayor’s goal to test more residents on a daily basis.
Domagoso also expressed gratitude to Ayala Foundation and its group of companies for offering to shoulder the costs for the building of the new laboratory, estimated to cost P7.7 million.
The laboratory is costly because, aside from the needed equipment, even the ventilation or negative pressure has to be regulated in such a way as to ensure the medical frontliners running it will be protected from infection.
PAT C. SANTOS