The Growing Impact of Drive-by COVID-19 Testing

Last July 15, the government of Manila launched their city’s first free drive-by testing project situated at the Plaza Lawton near City Hall. This initiative is open for all, not just Manila residents. The response, as described by Mayor Isko Moreno, “is a clear indication that so many people would really want to undergo testing but simply do not have the money or are afraid to go to the hospitals.” He also announced that due to the project’s success, their team will open more drive-by testing sites across the city.

Taguig City was the first to set up a drive-by testing site on April 22. Their project, however, is not for all residents. It is targeted towards those included in their city epidemiology and surveillance unit’s “suspect list”. Testing is scheduled through appointments for suspected individuals. The testing site is an effort to aid their city’s contact tracing and disease management.

Quezon City has also taken an unorthodox method of boosting the accessibility of COVID-19 testing to their residents. On June 29, their mobile lab began its rounds across the city’s high-risk areas. As the city with the second highest of COVID-19 cases, the Quezon City government hopes to trace and isolate more COVID-19 positives. The modified truck is equipped with a generator, a mini laboratory, negative pressure, and a self-decontamination area. It can provide rapid screening and PCR testing for suspected cases.

What We Could Expect

With the precedent set by these cities, we can expect the other LGUs to take their cue and launch their own screening programs. These projects will no doubt impact the Filipino’s accessibility to testing. This comes at a time when public activities are heightened due to our country’s slow transition towards restarting the economy. As Manila Mayor Isko Moreno stated, “We merely want those living, working, passing by, or doing business in Manila to feel a certain sense of confidence that they are safe and healthy, at the same time to be responsible toward others by making sure they are not carrying the virus and may be transmitting it unknowingly.”

What this increase in testing efforts could also impact is the volume of samples sent to PCR labs. As per DOH protocols, all screened samples that yielded positive results must be forwarded to PCR labs for confirmation. With the current backlog that our accredited laboratories are still striving to process, the spike in samples for confirmation could overwhelm their workload.

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The Status of PCR Testing in the Philippines

MAN Pharma hopes to aid our PCR laboratories to cope with this influx of samples with our PCR diagnostic products. Through their high throughput and assured performance, these devices can greatly contribute in processing the laboratories’ growing sample volume. For laboratories interested in upgrading their workflow with these products, please feel free to fill out the form below.

  • GeneFinder COVID-19 Plus RealAmp Kit
  • GeneFinder EX-MATE 32 Plus Nucleic Acid Extractor System