In a forum organized by the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP), doctors have urged companies to stop using the rapid anti-body tests as well as the realtime-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests as screening tools to determine if workers can continue or return to work.
Doctors continue to believe that screening is best based on symptoms and exposure of workers. To begin with, the rapid anti-body test should be stopped because it does not detect the virus and thus far has only detected half of Covid positive cases. If the other half of the testing show negative results even if they are actually positive, then a huge problem of spreading happens as these people who were tested will continue to live their normal lives thus spreading the disease.
Dr. Antonio Dans of the Philippine Society of General Internal Medicine said, “Around the world, only the Philippines continues to use the rapid tests and it should stop”. The PCR test, considered the definitive test for Covid, should also not be used for work clearance. “What happens if a negative tested person using the PCR reports for work thinking he’s safe then encounters an infected individual? What does the company do? Test everyday? That’s inefficient and very costly.”
“We suggest exposure and symptoms check as still the best way to move forward”. A person is tested only if they show symptoms or are exposed. Once and if positive, then contact tracing should be done.
The Covid-19 pandemic has now ravaged the country with nearly 120,000 positive cases, over 2000 deaths and an increasing daily average of new cases as the government has struggled to contain the pandemic.