QC partners with Project ARK for rapid testing of residents

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MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City government is working with Project ARK (antibody rapid test kits), a private sector initiative, to conduct COVID-19 testing of residents in barangays.

Mayor Joy Belmonte said the city received 3,800 rapid antibody-based diagnostic test kits from the private sector which will be used to identify and isolate infected residents from barangays.

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“We appreciate the support of the private sector especially Project Ark in our battle against COVID-19. This initiative complements our efforts of intensive community testing to identify patients from our barangays,” Belmonte said in a statement on Saturday.

Joseph Juico, Quezon City government’s project manager for community testing, said a rapid diagnostic test “identifies the presence of IgG and IgM antibodies which are generated by the body in response to COVID-19 infection.”

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Juico said the IgM “presumes that a person’s immune system is still responding to the COVID-19 infection.”

Rapid test kits also give faster results than the reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), which is the “gold standard of testing” and gives positive results for presence of novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19.

Juico said residents who will test positive during the rapid testing will still be subjected to the PCR test.

“If they turned out positive for the IgM component of the rapid test, they will immediately undergo swab testing in the same testing area,” Juico said.

“However, if they are negative for IgG and IgM antibodies but are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, they will still undergo swabbing,” he added.

Juico said those who tested positive for the testing will undergo strict quarantine procedures at the city government’s caring facilities.

Quezon City began its localized testing on April 13 to quickly identify and isolate patients who are positive for the new virus. The city government had partnered with the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) to process the swab samples from residents.

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As of May 21, the city posted 1,789 positive cases of coronavirus disease with 614 recoveries and 166 deaths.

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