Pool Testing: The Government’s Latest Strategy Against COVID-19

The Philippine government is turning to pool testing to boost our diagnostic capacity against COVID-19.

With the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases breaking records by the day, our country’s response to the pandemic is being aptly revised. Our strategy is now at its critical phase, as stated by chief implementer of the National Action Plan Against COVID-19, Carlito Galvez, Jr. Efforts will be concentrated towards aggressive testing, isolation of positive patients, and localized lockdowns.

Our government is also in its initial stage of implementing the pool testing system. This testing strategy involves “combining respiratory samples from several people and conducting one laboratory test on the combined pool of samples” according to the United States’ CDC. Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque surmised it this way: “If we now have one million test kits, we can test 10 million in this pooled testing.”

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Through batch testing, we could effectively narrow down our testing towards batches with confirmed cases. According to the American CDC, if a pooled test result is negative, then all the people who provided samples can be presumed negative. If the pooled test result is positive, each of the samples in the pool will need to be tested individually to determine which ones are positive. This strategy is not only more economical in terms of the use of PCR test kits, but more time-saving as well, especially for our already brimming testing laboratories.

Pool testing has already been utilized in other countries such as China, South Korea, Vietnam, Germany, and Israel to address the pandemic. The IATF and DOH have both given their approval for this method to be implemented. Our government intends to conduct a pilot run for pool testing in Metro Manila where most of the country’ COVID-19 cases are situated. The PSP is currently working on a pilot study on pool testing which would support the strategy’s feasibility and prompt its immediate implementation.

PCR testing, being the backbone of our country’s nationwide testing efforts, must be both dependable and efficient for strategies like this to succeed. Our country has recently amplified the number of authorized facilities for COVID-19 PCR testing to 91 laboratories. MAN Pharma hopes to assist these laboratoires by providing them with the GeneFinder COVID-19 Plus RealAmp Kit. Our PCR kits have achieved 100% sensitivity and specificity from its RITM evaluation, ensuring reliable results for every run. For testing laboratories interested in purchasing our PCR test kit, please fill out the form below.