A doctor 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.
According to Dr. Antonio Dans of the Philippine Society of General Internal Medicine, rapid tests were giving people a false sense of security.
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.
“Iyong rapid test, hindi naman niya nakikita ang virus kasi ang nakikita niyan, antibodies. Ang nangyayari, iyong mga nag -negative sa rapid test, sila yung kumakalat sa lipunan. Eh ganoon lumalaganap ang COVID-19 e kasi nga, ‘negative’ sila,” Dans said in an online forum.
(The rapid test, it does not see the virus because it sees antibodies. Those who are negative in the rapid test are the ones who are spreading in society. That’s how COVID-19 spreads because they are ‘negative.’)
“Iyong paggamit ng rapid test sa workplace, naging problema at nakadagdag sa paglaganap [ng COVID-19],” he added.
(Ther use of the rapid test kits in the workplace has become a problem and has contributed to the spread of COVID-19.)
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.
“Iyong RT-PCR, pang isang araw lang iyon. Iyong iba, sabi RT-PCR test every two weeks. Eh iyon nga, protektado ka ng isang araw. Paano iyong 13 araw?” Dans pointed out.
(The RT-PCR, that’s just for a day. Some say the RT-PCR test is every two weeks. You will be protected one day. How about for the 13 days?)
Dans recommended checking the employees for symptoms and exposure every day.
“Ito pong symptom at exposure check, kung meron po kahit onting ubo, sipon, o sinat, o kung may nakasama silang may sintomas, kaya po nating gawin ito every day,” Dans said.