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DOH discourages use of rapid test kits for screening purposes

The Department of Health on Wednesday said rapid antibody-based test kits should not be used for diagnosis of COVID-19.


In a statement, DOH said antibody tests have “low sensitive and high false-negative test rates” and “uncertainties to its connection to immunity.”

Antibody tests should likewise not be used for “screening, return-to-work decisions, entry-to-country/province policies,” according to the DOH.

DOH said the “gold standard” for confirmatory test of COVID-19 remains to be the RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction).

Citing recommendation from the World Health Organization, the DOH said the antibody tests should only be used for “research settings, including for clinical decision making until evidence supporting use for specific indications is available.”

In an interview with ANC Wednesday morning, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said anti-rapid body tests cannot tell whether a person has the coronavirus or not.

“This cannot be used for screening because the anti-rapid body tests will give you or show you the development of antibodies,” she said.

Vergeire said the DOH is eyeing to release omnibus guidelines for the different testing methodologies by early next week if they are able to finish the series of consultations with LGUs and the medical societies.

“In the omnibus guidelines, we will be explaining the timing of the test, the type of test to be used, and what will be the accurate results for these tests,” she said.

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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