$2.5M lab equipment, test kits for COVID-19 in Clark

CLARK FREEPORT-- To help capacitate a major regional hospital in Central Luzon in the detection and testing of COVID-19 virus, a $2.5 million laboratory equipment, and 45,000 test kits funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and developed by a genome sequencing company in China arrived in Clark International Airport early morning Wednesday.

The laboratory equipment and test kits materials developed by the Beijing Genome Institute (BGI) was picked-up from Shenzhen, China and flown to Clark by a Philippine Air Force C130 cargo plane.

The said lab equipment which can facilitate and has a capacity of 3,000 tests per day will be commissioned and installed at Jose B. Lingad Memorial General Hospital (JBLMGH) at City of San Fernando, Pampanga, making it a Pandemic Subnational Reference Laboratory (PSRL) in the country.

In a report released by the Department of Health (DOH) – Central Luzon posted in their official Facebook page on April 20, it was mentioned that the BGI will assign its own full-time staff in the facility to guide in the preparation of the laboratory. Likewise, BGI personnel will also help in staff training, commissioning the facility, and providing technical support during the laboratory’s first week of operations.

As cited in the same report, JBLMGH is now on stage 3 of their accreditation while its personnel are undergoing training from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM). The proficiency testing of the equipment and kits on COVID 19 laboratory samples is expected to be conducted on May 2 to 10.

Once the RITM has confirmed the laboratory’s accuracy in testing the samples, it will be certified by May 15 and can run tests on samples at full capacity on May 16.

Aside from its ability to detect and test the presence of the COVID-19 virus, the PSRL in JBLMGH will also be used for supporting medical-related researches on pathogens, genetic disease, and cancer. It will likewise be utilized for training laboratory personnel.