Senator Bong Go urged the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and the Food and Drug Administration to fast track the validation, processing and approval of the test kits.
The senator issued the call after the number of people infected with coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 in the country increased to 230 as of Friday noon, March 20, the health department said.
Go said using unregistered test kits must be avoided because these might yield misleading results.
“Ensuring that the test kits we are using are accurate is as important as having ample supply of those test kits,” the senator said.
“I was informed that despite the worldwide shortage of WHO-pre-qualified COVID-19 testing kits, our government, through the FDA, has already approved six (6) RT-PCR test kits for COVID-19, as of today,” the senator said.
According to the senator, the FDA has also made the application process easier in order to expedite the process for applying for FDA approval.
“About 120,500 test kits are arriving from China and South Korea this weekend,” he added. “And the government has already started distributing test kits to our subnational medical facilities around the country.”
As chair of the Senate committee on health, Go said he would continue to call on authorities to expedite the processing of acquiring the test kits, the assessment of the application of other test kits not yet approved by FDA, the validation of RITM and distribution of the registered kits to hospitals and laboratories capable of using these throughout the country.
The senator also urged RITM and FDA to explain to the public the painstaking work involved in approving test kits so that everybody will understand the difficulties that the two government agencies are going through.
“Kung gaano kabilis kumalat ang virus na ito, dapat mas mabilis tayong gumalaw upang tuluyang mapigilan ang pagkalat na ito. Kung ano man ang pwede nating gawin para mapadali ang ating pagresponde sa krisis, gawin na natin ngayon,” he said.