The university’s own COVID-19 Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory has been finally greenlighted as an independent COVID-19 testing center.
By Ruben S. Belmonte, Jr.
More than 2 months since UPLB created the “Committee for the Establishment of a COVID-19 Testing Center” under its “Task Force LB Kontra COVID-19” initiative, the Department of Health (DOH) finally released on Monday the certifications to operate for the COVID-19 testing laboratory of the university.
UPLB’s COVID-19 Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory (UPLB-CMDL) received its certification as a molecular lab that can perform independent testing for COVID-19 by real time reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).
DOH greenlighted the labs to operate after its six medical technologists aced the proficiency test for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) detection on June 26, where they garnered a score of 100% in tests on nucleic acid extraction, reagent preparation, and real time RT-PCR of multiple targets.
Dr. Rex Demafelis, Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension and chair of the UPLB Task Force Laban ng Bayan Kontra COVID-19, announced that the UPLB-CMDL will begin accepting samples on July 6.
UPLB-CMDL will serve as a subnational testing center for Laguna and neighboring provinces with its license validity dated until the end of 2020. It is located at the Agricultural and Life Sciences Complex in UPLB, and is headed by Dr. Ma. Genaleen Q. Diaz – UP Scientist I and a faculty member of Genetics and Molecular Biology Division of the Institute of Biological Sciences (IBS).
The proficiency test conducted by the Molecular Biology Laboratory of the DOH-RITM is the last and final stage of the assessment process for COVID-19 testing centers that employ RT-PCR. The said method is deemed one of the most accurate ways to detect COVID-19, and the gold standard for detecting and tracking SARS-CoV-2 in humans and studying COVID-19. [P]
Photo from the University of the Philippines website