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DoH calls for RT-PCR test on PBA ref

Francis Wakefield



Vergeire wants to know how the referee got infected when they are in a bubble. (PBA photo)
Department of Health (DoH) Undersecretary Ma. Rosario Vergeire Thursday said  that it would have been best if the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) used RT-PCR swab instead of the antigen tests in retesting one of the referees who reportedly tested positive for COVID-19.
Vergeire made the remark even as he advised the public to be very cautious whenever interpreting COVID-19 test results.
“Actually it is really… we have to be cautious no para makapagsabi tayo na ang isang resulta ay false negative or false positive kasi para tayo magkaroon ng accurate na ebidensya na masasabi natin na false positive at false negative kailangan natin pag-aralan ‘yung mga detalye ng laboratoryo,” Vergeire said in a virtual news conference.
“Again, I like everybody to be cautious in interpreting this. As I have said. these are two different tests. RT-PCR po ay iisang diagnostic method for COVID-19 which is very sensitive that even the pre-infection stage or the pre-symptomatic stage of a patient nakukuha na nyan, can detect already kahit wala pang sintomas, kahit asymptomatic.”
“Pero ang antigen tests magbibigay lang ‘yan,magde-detect lang ‘yan kapag ang pasyente nagsisintomas na at mataas na ang viral load. So may mga differences ang ating diagnostic test and sabi nga ng ating eksperto RT-PCR na lang sama ang ginawang succeeding test para mas nakikita natin ‘yung totoong features,” she added.

Vergeire, at the same time, said it would be best for the PBA referee to be tested again by RT-PCR and not antigen tests because the latter is only accurate during the time the person is infectious, has high viral load and symptomatic.

“Ang rinig ko po at doon sa mga artikulo or articles eh asymptomatic ‘yung pasyente so it might be that when they were tested with antigen the patient is just pre-symptomatic or the viral load is still not that high kaya nag negative siya sa antigen test. So kailangan lang po maulit agad ‘yung RT-PCR niya. Huwag na ho magpa-Sabado pa kasi nakalagay sa artilcle uulitin ang test sa Sabado,” Vergeire said.
“Sana maulit na po ‘yung RT-PCR para po magkaroon po tayo ng mas better appreciation itong mga test na isinagawa sa pasyente and of course we would like to request for the (CP) values dun napunta sa laboratoryo para mapag-aralan, makita po natin kung ano po talaga ang nangyari bakt nag positive sa RT-PCR (but) the following day the patient turns out to be negative in Antigen,” she added.
Vergeire said despite this latest development in the PBA, their recommendations to the league remains the same in order to prevent an outbreak while they are in the bubble.

“Well its still the same. Alam po natin na kung ano ang dapat natin ang ating isinasagawa even though you are inside the bubble nakita po natin nagkaroon ng isang inpeksyon. We still have to find out kung san nanggaling at papano pumasok when in fact they are inside the bubble. So lahat po ‘yan pag-aaralan natin but it’s still basically the same,” Vergeire said.
“Kung ano ang inerekomenda natin, minimum public health standards, regular monitoring and of course ‘yung pong ating immediate isolation of those  people who has symptoms or those people who have been identified to be positive with the RT-PCR test. So ‘yun pa rin ang ating recommendation,” she added.
p: wjg