Provincial Health Officer Anatalio Cagampang Jr. on Thursday announced that Zamboanga del Sur has purchased a COVID-19 testing machine that produces more accurate test results.
Cagampang said the serology testing machine worth ₱ 2.1 million bought from Cebu’s Lab Solution Company will now be used for testing locally stranded individuals, returning OFW’s and authorized persons outside residence (APOR) instead of rapid diagnostic test (RDT) kits.
This came after the provincial task force through Gov. Victor Yu decided to procure a testing machine that is cost-effective compared to the usual RDT kits which are good for single-use only.
The governor said the procurement will be a long-term investment for the provincial government because it is not only useful for COVID-19 but for testing other diseases as well.
Similar to rapid test kits, the serology testing machine uses blood as samples to test residents for COVID-19.
The U.S. Bureau of Food and Drug Administration explained that serology tests detect the presence of antibodies in the blood when the body is responding to a specific infection, like COVID-19. However, confirmatory swab tests are still required under public health protocols.
The performance of these tests is described by their “sensitivity,” or their ability to identify those with antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 (true positive rate), and their “specificity,” or their ability to identify those without antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 (true negative rate).
According to Lab Solution Company, the testing machine has an accuracy rate of 78.65-percent sensitivity (for IgM alone), 89-percent sensitivity (for IgM-IgG), 91.21-percent sensitivity (for IgG, IgG-IgM), 97.50-percent specificity (for IgM alone), 96.50%-specificity (for IgM-IgG), 97.33-percent specificity (for IgG alone) and 96-percent specificity (for IgG-IgM).
But unlike the RDT kits that yield results of up to 20 minutes only, Cagampang said serology tests take 2 to 3 hours of process before getting the result of an examined blood sample.
Cagampang added that the COVID-19 testing machine had already tested more than 1,000 samples since it arrived last week.
(Source: Provincial Press Bureau)