|The antigen tests that will be used for COVID 19. (Photo from ABS CBN website)|
[Asia News Communication = Reporter Reakkana] The Philippines’ Department of Health on Friday said that while it has already released its Omnibus Guidelines for testing and other COVID-19 response strategies, it is still looking at other uses for antigen testing. The Omnibus Guidelines, antigen tests are only allowed to be used in areas where there is limited polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test capacity when quick turnaround time is needed and for quicker case finding for community outbreaks.\
Originally, the Philippine government wanted to use it for screening in airports but the WHO later issued guidelines saying it isn’t appropriate for border screening. "We'll continue the Baguio pilot study so we can appropriately find the rational use of antigens for us, aside from the WHO recommendation. Maybe it can also be used for other sectors like travelers like what we’re trying in Baguio, said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.
Vergeire said the problem with Baguio is that it only has 200 travelers tested using antigen test kits. That’s why it’s not yet conclusive. The sample isn’t sufficient for us to say that this is the result and it can serve as a basis or evidence for a protocol. The use of antigen tests specified in the Omnibus Guidelines is based on the recommendations of the WHO and the Health Technology Assessment Council.