PBA COVID-19 case should’ve taken RT-PCR test anew, not antigen -DOH


The referee working inside the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) bubble in Pampanga should have taken another RT-PCR test, and not an antigen one, to confirm if he indeed tested positive for COVID-19, the Department of Health (DOH) said Thursday.

 “It would have been better if he was tested again by an RT-PCR and not antigen,” said Health Undersecretary Dr. Maria Rosario Vergeire at a media briefing.

The said referee had already tested positive for COVID-19 through a swab or RT-PCR test required for bubble delegates, but tested negative later on after undergoing an antigen test.

Because of this, the PBA said the referee might be a case of “false positive.”

But Vergeire said an antigen test is only accurate during the time when the person is infectious, has a high viral load, and is symptomatic.

“Ang rinig ko at nandun sa mga articles, asymptomatic yung pasyente. So it might be that when they tested with antigen, the patient is just pre-symptomatic or the viral load is still not that high kaya nag-negative siya sa antigen test,” she said.

“Sabi nga ng ating eksperto, RT-PCR na lang sana yung ginawang succeeding test para mas nakikita natin talaga yung totoong picture,” she added.

Vergeire said the referee should be tested again through an RT-PCR test immediately to confirm his COVID-19 status.

“Sana maulit na yung RT-PCR para magkaroon tayo ng better appreciation nitong mga test na ginawa sa pasyente,” she said.

At the same time, Vergeire said the DOH will be requesting the CT (cycle-threshold) values of the patient to determine whether the patient’s viral load is high.

For now, Vergeire said the PBA bubble should practice minimum health standards in order to prevent an outbreak in their area.

“it’s still basically the same [recommendations]: minimum public health standards, regular monitoring, at immediate isolation of those people with symptoms or those people identified to be positive with the RT-PCR test,” she said. -MDM, GMA News