Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) will soon initiate the pilot pooled swab testing for COVID-19 in Cebu City. The University of Cebu Medical Center shall also conduct a pilot test of this system. With these, Cebu City will be the first city in Visayas to try the pooled testing project. According to Dr. Gerardo Aquino Jr., the medical center chief at the VSMMC, they will use the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) method for the pooled testing, and it will be mainly used as a screening for testing employees, vendors, and drivers.
Pooled testing involves collecting samples of groups of five to ten individuals to allow laboratories to test more samples with lesser testing materials. Once a pooled sample shows a negative result, all the samples in that same pool will be considered negative. But if a sample turns positive, the samples in the group will need to be tested individually. This method is expected to bring down the cost of swab tests to about PhP300 to PhP400 per individual compared to the PhP3,000 normal swab test .
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