Conglomerate San Miguel Corp. on Friday opened a state-of-the-art COVID-19 reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction testing laboratory with an initial capacity of 4,000 tests per day.
San Miguel said in a statement the Better World Edsa COVID-19 RT-PCR testing laboratory could be upgraded to 12,000 tests per day and help the government reach testing capacity to 50,000 per day. This would ease the strain on the country’s testing and processing facilities.
The facility will primarily be used to test the company’s workforce of 70,000 who are set to return to work in the coming months.
It is equipped with two sets of RT-PCR machines and fully automated nucleic acid extraction systems or NATCH. A set has two PCR machines and one NATCH. This makes the facility one of the most advanced private testing laboratories in the country.
“Two weeks into the quarantine last March, we included the testing laboratory as part of our business continuity plan. We procured the machines, and had personnel undergo training for its full-scale operations,” Ang said.
“With this facility, we are taking responsibility for testing our own employees and unburdening our health system. It also helps make our operations more resilient to disruptions brought about by the virus. Lesser disruptions on our operations will allow us to better contribute to the immediate recovery of the economy,” Ang said.
San Miguel aims to bring back 50 percent of its workforce over the next few weeks.
Prior to the shift to general community quarantine, the conglomerate started testing its employees, prioritizing those in its food manufacturing facilities to further stabilize the country’s food supply in the coming months.
“It’s our contribution the government’s effort to continuously test and trace COVID-19 transmission and contain it, as well as enable early intervention or treatment to save lives,” Ang said.
“The country and the rest of the world are still feeling the effects of the pandemic on the economy, particularly on businesses and loss of jobs for many of our fellowmen. We have to take more aggressive steps in addressing the virus and make sure that no more lives and livelihood are lost further,” he said.
Ang unveiled the marker for the new laboratory togerther with National Task Force against COVID-19 chief implementer and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., COVID-19 Task Force deputy chief implementer and testing czar Secretary Vince Dizon and Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega.
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