Subic PRC COVID lab
PRC Molecular Lab in SBMA and COVID swabbing area

In a bid to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Zambales and its neighbouring provinces, the Philippine Red Cross is set to open a bio-molecular laboratory at its logistics and training center located inside the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

Senator Richard J. Gordon, PRC chairman and CEO, said the laboratory, which has already been completed and awaiting the conduct of proficiency testing by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine for accreditation, was built with the support of donors and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority or SBMA.

“Our aim is to ensure victory over the virus. We have to unmask the unseen enemy so we could isolate and treat those who are infected and prevent the further spread of the disease. That’s why we are setting up several laboratories across the country,” he said.

Gordon said that once the facility becomes operation, health workers from the SBMA, headed by Atty. Amy Eisma, will conduct the swabbing and encoding at the SBF’s Main Gate while the actual testing of the specimens will be done in the PRC laboratory.

The PRC, which has the distinction of being the only Red Cross national society with a bio-molecular laboratory system, already opened two testing centers that are both equipped with polymerase chain reaction machines that can run up to a combined total of 8,000 tests a day. They are also equipped with automated RNA extraction machines.

Last Friday, the Department of Health also accredited PRC’s third testing center in Port Area, Manila. Like the first two, the Manila laboratory is also equipped with four PCR machines that are also capable of processing up to a total of 4,000 tests a day.

Gordon said the soon to be opened facility in Subic is also equipped with an automated RNA extraction machine and two PCR machines, which can complete up to a total of 2,000 tests combined.

“There is a need to conduct testing para makita natin ang kalaban. Gaya niyan, mayroon nang 16 confirmed cases sa Zambales, 11 sa Olongapo at 110 sa Bataan ngayong buwan. Kailangan malaman natin kung nasaan ang kalaban para hindi na dumami ang bilang ng mga mahahawaan. And with the SBMA supporting our cause, we are sure to achieve this goal,” he said. (PRC)