Lacson asks DOH: Why buy pricier equipment for coronavirus testing?

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Health Secretary Francisco Duque III says the US-made automated nucleic acid extractor is 'compatible' with the 'US-made PCR machine' bought by Philippine labs. COVID19PH

SWAB TESTING. Swab testing in newly opened Noveleta Medcare Hospital is still ongoing even though the entire province of Cavite downgraded to general community quarantine starting May 16, 2020. File photo by Dennis Abrina/Rappler

In Lacson's presentation, the senator said that GoNegosyo, which has a testing initiative called"Project ARK," bought an automated extractor by China-made Sansure. It's only around P1.75 million each.A nucleic acid extractor is where test kits are run after swab samples are taken from individuals. After the RNA extraction process, these are later sent for real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis.

"Most of our labs are using manual. However, PS-DBM can only procure based on the APR – which is the agency purchase request – issued to us by the agency. If the APR is generic, we can bid to all providers whoever is cheapest. We will buy it. But brand-based, you can only buy that specific brand," Lao explained.Duque committed to senators that he will send relevant information to the Senate on Monday, May 25.


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