ADB donates COVID-19 lab with 3,000 capacity

April 27 ------ The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is building one of the largest coronavirus laboratories in the country that, once fully operational, could nearly double the current testing capacity of the Department of Health (DOH). ADB Country Director Kelly Bird said the Manila-based lender has donated $3 million for the procurement of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) laboratory equipment from China, which will have a testing capacity of 3,000 per day. “The laboratory will be set up in Jose B. Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital in San Fernando, Pampanga,” Bird told reporters in a virtual press conference. He, however, pointed out that it will also accept test samples from other areas including Metro Manila. Bird said that they expect their COVID-19 laboratory, manufactured by China-based BGI Group, will be functioning in middle of May. “We work very, very closely with DOH to make sure, since we started it off, that we’re getting open specifications and requirements from DOH,” he said, adding BGI’s systems also met the DOH standards. “We went to the global market with DOH, to talk and examine different suppliers, and as a result, we chose BGI because it’s systems met DOH requirement,” he added. According to Bird, the ADB, in cooperation with the DOH, Department of National Defense, and the People’s Republic of China, has brought into the country the COVID-19 laboratory equipment with its initial 45,000 test kits. “With 3,000 tests, that’s a substantial boost to testing [capacity of the Philippines], and that’s what we’re all very happy about,” the ADB official said. Bird said, the DOH has been “very closely” monitoring and leading the installation of the COVID-19 laboratory in Pampanga to ensure that everything is fully compatible and will not suffer any hiccups during its accreditation process. Currently, the country has at least 17 accredited testing laboratories, processing 4,000 test samples per daily. The DOH earlier said it is eyeing laboratories in the country to collectively conduct 8,000 tests per day by end of April. Source: