The Department of Health said it would not ban the rapid testing for COVID-19 because it could be useful for those who already recovered, said Health Undersecretary Rosario Vergeire, Monday.
The rapid test detects the presence of IgM (immunoglobulin) and IgG (immunoglobulin G) antibodies in a person.
If one tested positive for IgM, it means he or she has an active COVID-19 infection while testing positive for IgG indicates that an individual had recently recovered.
“Hindi naman kailangan i-ban kasi may gamit pa rin siya sa ating response,” Vergeire said in a virtual press briefing.
(There is no need to ban because it could be used for our response.)
“Puwede gamitin ang rapid antibody test sa mga nakaka-recover na, or puwede na ma-tag as recovered. Kasi on the 21st day of the illness of the patient, accurate o sensitive na ang rapid test para makapag-show siya kung nakapag-develop na ang pasyente ng IgG na nagi-indicate na naka-recover na ang pasyente,” she explained.
(Rapid antibody test can be used on recoverers or can be tagged as recovered. Because on the 21st day of the patient’s illness, the rapid test is accurate or sensitive so that it can show if the patient has developed IgG, which indicates that the patient has recovered.)
DOH will not ban rapid testing
Vergeire, however, strongly warned against rapid testing for COVID-19 screening purposes.
“We are not rally totally banning. Kailangan lang appropriate ang use. Hindi talaga puwede for screening,” Vergeire said.
(It should be appropriately used. It should not be used for screening.)
Dr. Antonio Dans of the Philippine Society of General Internal Medicine said the use of the rapid test kits to screen employees returning to work led to the surge in COVID-19 cases in the country. He added rapid tests were giving people a false sense of security.
The internist said that the Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test, meanwhile, is not also advisable for returning employees since it too costly and impractical. The RT-PCR test or swab test is the gold standard of COVID-19 tests.
Dans recommended checking the employees for symptoms and exposure every day.