MANILA – The Department of Health (DOH) regularly monitors all its accredited laboratories, including those operated by the Philippine Red Cross, as part of its quality assurance (QA) control.
All laboratory outputs are screened by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, the country’s national reference laboratory, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a media briefing on Friday.
She said an investigation into the false-positive results from PRC laboratories will be conducted as part of the regular QA process and not just because it was requested by President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Tayo po ay tumatanggap ng ganitong dokumento at mga specimen na hinihingi kapag nagkakaroon ng panel testing. So, ito po ay regularly na ginagawa natin (We regularly accept documents and specimens that are required in panel testing. So, this is something we do regularly). We have not been remiss on this part of the process in QA,” Vergeire said.
She said the PRC contributes about 20 percent to the country’s total laboratory output.
“Tinitignan natin if there would be inaccuracies so that we can ensure na ‘yung nilalabas nating mga resulta sa lahat ng laboratoryo, hindi lang isa, are subjected dito sa QA (We’re monitoring if there would be inaccuracies so that we can ensure that the outputs of all laboratories, not just one, are subjected to QA),” Vergeire said.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte has “actual figures” of the false-positive results, such as among members of the Presidential Security Group and Department of Finance.
During his Talk to the People on Monday night, Duterte said he received reports of false-positive results in Covid-19 swab testing molecular laboratories of the PRC.
“I also would like to ask: Are your testing facilities and equipment are 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?” he said, addressing the PRC.
The PRC replied in a statement on September 21 that it “stands by the integrity of the positive results” but acknowledged that no test is 100 percent accurate. (PNA)