Rapid antigen test results not allowed at Davao airport

Subscribe Now October 06, 2020 at 11:19am

THE City Tourism Operations Office (CTOO) warned air travelers going to Davao City that it will not honor any test result using the rapid antigen testing, which uses saliva samples in testing, as a proof that they are coronavirus-free.

In a Facebook post, CTOO head Generose Tecson said only the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test results taken within 72 hours will be accepted by the City Health Office (CHO), which is in charge of the health screening at the Francisco Bangoy International

Airport, also known as Davao International Airport.

"The rapid antigen testing, even if the specimen is collected by nasal swabbing is NOT accepted under Davao City's Health Protocols [sic]," Tecson said in her Facebook post.

"It is only the negative result from RT PCR or Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction collected through nasal AND oropharyngeal swabs done 24-72 hours before departure from origin is acceptable especially at the DIAs health screening process [sic]," she added.

The city had been using the RT-PCR as a standard in detecting the Covid-19 virus.

In July, passengers traveling to the city are required to secure a negative RT-PCR test result following the rising of Covid-19 cases in the city, attributed to arriving air passengers.

Passengers with no negative RT-PCR results are swabbed in the airport and will be referred to the city's quarantine facility while waiting for their test result, which can last up to 48 hours.

Rapid antigen testing has been pushed as a new form of Covid-19 as it can produce results in just 15 to 30 minutes. The antigen-based rapid diagnostic tests work by detecting proteins found on the surface of the virus. The tests look similar to pregnancy tests, showing two blue lines for a positive result.

In a research conducted by the Hokkaido University in Japan on September 28, they discovered a quick and effective mass testing approach using saliva samples to detect traces of the Covid-19 to positive individuals.

Some researchers across the globe have proven the rapid antigen tests as vital in improving the testing capacity of lower and middle-income countries who lack enough laboratory resources or trained health workers to properly carry out PCR tests.

However, the Department of Health (DOH) said the use of saliva testing as an alternative method of tracing Covid-19 has not yet been proven effective, thus, it needs more scientific studies.

"Hindi po basta-basta nag-aadvocate ang Department of Health pag wala po itong scientific basis, or nag-undergo siya ng research or trial. Pinag-aaralan pa iyan if may enough evidences na ito ba talaga nakaka-detect ng Covid-19 infection during the active infection (DOH does not advocate nor recommend any new method of Covid-19 detection if it did not undergo research or trial. It is being studied to determine if there is enough evidence to prove that it can detect Covid-19 infection during the active infection)," DOH-Davao Assistant Director Lenny Joy Rivera said in a virtual presser.

But Rivera said that the DOH central office is now piloting the antigen testing in Baguio City to determine its effectiveness in tracing the virus.

While she said the test is also being studied and considered as an alternative Covid-19 detection tool, the World Health Organization (WHO) as of press time has not been recommending such.

"Tingnan natin ang possibility (We will look into the possibility) if it can actually be an alternative to RT-PCR, if same ba sila ng capacity nung (if it has the same capacity of the) RT-PCR in detecting Covid-19 during the active infection," Rivera said.

She added the method of testing must also be studied, including if it should be used whenever the patient is manifesting symptoms linked to Covid-19.

Source: sunstar.com.ph

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