XU seeks donors to start up UNILAB RT-PCR Test Lab at Maria Reyna-XU Hospital

May 22, 2020


Xavier University (XU) is working with Maria Reyna Xavier University Hospital (MRXUH) to set up a Reverse Transcription — Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) Laboratory at MRXUH to test for COVID-19. RT-PCR is the gold standard for COVID-19 testing.

RT-PCR testing is the preferred mode of testing for detection of COVID-19 cases. Tests are an essential part of our struggle to contain the coronavirus pandemic. With the bio-containment modular lab to be established in Cagayan de Oro, more of the much-needed COVID-19 testing can be done in the City.

The laboratory will be modular, transforming shipping container vans into a multi-room laboratory suite which will meet the international guidance for biosafety level 2 (BSL2) and be certifiable by the Department of Health for clinical testing of human specimens. The laboratory will require a 6-person shift of BSL2-trained Medical Technicians who have also gone through training in PCR-based Testing. The total throughput of each 8-hour shift will be from 100-150 tests yielding an estimate of 300-450 tests at full capacity of 3 shifts.

United Laboratories (UNILAB), a pharmaceutical company in the Philippines manufacturing healthcare products and medicines , owns the containerized lab and is shouldering the capital expenditures.  UNILAB is lending the containerized RT-PCR lab to MRXUH for free for 6 months to help address the COVID-19 situation in CDO and Northern Mindanao. 

UNILAB will also fund the appropriate training for Biosafety, Biosecurity and RT-PCR testing in coordination with National Institutes of Health and National Training Center for Biosafety and Biosecurity. UNILAB will likewise facilitate the 5-stage accreditation of the laboratory by the Health Facility Standards and Regulation Bureau. 

It will also donate an initial inventory of consumables for 2,000 COVID-19 tests which will be prioritized for the subgroups listed in DOH Department Memo 2020-0180 on Interim Guidelines for Expanded Testing for COVID-19, i.e., patients or healthcare workers with symptoms, relevant history of travel/contact, or considered vulnerable.

UNILAB is expected to deliver the containerized lab turn-key to Cagayan de Oro sometime this May.

For its part, Xavier Ateneo will support the volunteer initiatives of its faculty from the School of Medicine to sustain the modular lab’s operations. XU will assist MRXUH in setting up the lab and in advising on guidelines and procedures.

XU is requesting donors to raise the start-up operating capital needed by MRXUH to set up the lab and cover the operating expenses for the first few months. The financial assistance will support the operations of this testing laboratory  to contain the coronavirus pandemic. This UNILAB-MRXUH Testing Laboratory will help meet the urgent need for COVID-19 testing in Cagayan de Oro and Northern Mindanao.

Financial donations can be coursed through #XUKontraCOVID19.



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