NegOr’s P32-M molecular test lab inaugurated

NEGROS ORIENTAL, Nov. 1 (PIA) -- Negros Oriental's testing capacity for COVID-19 is expected to receive a boost with the official inauguration of the P32-M molecular diagnostic laboratory Wednesday at Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital (NOPH).

Chief pathologist Dr. Mary Jean Loreche of the Department of Health (DOH-7) said the province’s molecular laboratory is expected to officially operate next week after minor adjustments are instituted by NOPH.

Negros Oriental is on the right track in putting up a laboratory as it is necessary to have RT-PCR testing, contact tracing, isolation and equipment to fight against COVID-19, said Loreche.

Gov. Roel Degamo (2nd from right) together with Dr. Nikko Cablao receives the 1,500 test kits donated by DOH-7 led by Dr. May Jean Loreche (3rd from right). (PIA Negros Oriental)

The RT-PCR test is a real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) test for the qualitative detection of nucleic acid from SARS-CoV-2 in upper and lower respiratory specimens collected from individuals suspected of COVID-19.

The health team of DOH-7 has conducted an inspection of the laboratory and noted some minor corrections on its flooring while the negative pressure needs extra blower.

“Once these will be done this week, then they can run the test for proficiency testing and when they pass, hopefully, next week they will have their license to operate already,” Loreche said.

This molecular lab can still do other testing for other diseases like

viral load testing for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and human immuno virus (HIV).

However, Loreche said, in the surge of the pandemic, the lab will be focusing on COVID-19 testing.

To augment the province’s supplies of test kits, Loreche's team personally turned over 1,500 kits to Gov. Roel Degamo to be used as part of the initial free testing while the ordinance is still pending.

The lab is equipped with two RT-PCR machines donated by Energy Development Corporation (EDC) including two extractors, three biosafety cabinets, one laminar flow, two digital drives, and 11 air conditioning units.

It also has a special filtration system that would eliminate infectious droplets to ensure the safety of the medical staff who would be assigned at the testing laboratory.

Fr. Eric Lozada (2nd from right) of the Diocese of Dumaguete administers the blessing of the molecular laboratory. (PIA Negros Oriental)

Asst. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Liland Estacion, health ground commander of the Provincial Inter-Agency Task Force for the management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (PIATF-EID), said the laboratory ward has the capacity of running initially 150 individual tests daily with the results to come out within 36 hours.

However, Estacion said the swab testing is expected to increase including the positive cases since the province has already its own molecular laboratory.

Nevertheless, she urged the public to strictly observe health protocols to prevent the spread of the virus, while the governor has called on all local government officials to unite in fighting the pandemic.

“I am now extending my hands to all the congressmen, all the officials and mayors that we will unite and we will heal as one because this is the best approach that we can do to prevent the transmission of the virus,” the governor appealed. (jct/PIA7 Negros Oriental)

Source: Philippines Information Agency (

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