Pooled testing will start in the pilot area of Makati City, an official said Monday. This aims to speed up testing efforts in Metro Manila, which is under strict quarantine until Tuesday, alongside Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal and Laguna.
Five people will be assigned one test kit, said Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneruship Joey Concepcion. If the test kit shows a positive result, everybody in that group will be tested further. If no one tests positive, no one will be tested further.
Since more people will be covered with fewer kits, the pooled testing is cheaper. The waiting time will also be shorter. If infections slow, Concepcion said they could increase it to a pool of 10 people per test kit.
Makati City will be the pilot area for the new testing method, which will eventually cover other areas in the capital region and to be supported by the private sector, he said.
Though there are clinical trials for COVID-19 treatments and vaccines, there is still no cure for the respiratory disease in sight, and the government is intensifying efforts to slow down the virus’ spread before the country’s economy shrinks even further.