Cardinal Santos Medical Center (CSMC) has formally opened its Molecular Laboratory on October 16, enabling the hospital to conduct reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests that determine if a patient is infected with Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).
The Molecular Laboratory, which is housed within the compound of CSMC in Greenhills, San Juan, enables CSMC to test outpatients and patients confined in the hospital for COVID-19 and receive results quicker than before.
“Having our own Molecular Lab will improve our disposition and management of patients.” Dr. Marichu Catan, CSMC Vice President & Head of Business Planning and Development Division said.
Aside from directly contributing to a more effective management of patients, the Molecular Lab also contributes to the expansion of our country’s testing capacity.
“The directive of the [Department of Health] is to increase our capacity to test, and this Molecular Laboratory fulfills our commitment to respond to this directive of the DOH,” Dr.
Monserrat Velasquez, CSMC Assistant Vice President and Head of Ancillary Services added.
The Molecular Lab also directly benefits the frontliners of CSMC. Given the need for constant testing for the medical professionals of CSMC, the Molecular Laboratory will be crucial in ensuring that the staff of the hospital are safe from the virus.
“This Molecular Laboratory is a testament to our commitment to compassionate care not only for our patients needing RT-PCR testing but also for our healthcare workers and professionals who are at the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19” Dr. Velasquez added.
The Molecular Laboratory has the capacity to process 150 to 180 test samples per day, but this can be ramped up if ever the need arises. But as CSMC has invested significantly to equip the Molecular Laboratory with state-of-the-art equipment that it needs for various medical applications, it is envisioned that by next year it will be able to provide other services on top of its current offerings.
Some of these tests include molecular testing for the translocation of certain tumors, as the diagnostic trend today is identifying mutations in the tumor to be definite in the diagnosis. Identification of various cancer markers for personalized cancer treatments can also be undertaken down the line. Another service that is being eyed is Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) DNA monitoring because of the steady increase of Hepatitis B cases in the country.
“The Molecular Laboratory is a response of Cardinal Santos [Medical Center] to its commitment to be a complete diagnostic facility. Our Molecular Laboratory is designed not only for COVID, in the future we are also looking at being a referral center. We envision it to be a center for excellence, a facility that touts the highest attainable quality in existing and innovative laboratory procedures,” Dr. Paulo Mendoza, Head of Pathology and Laboratory Services of CSMC said.
For patients who may want to undergo RT-PCR swab testing, CSMC accepts walk-in patients but strongly encourages interested parties to book an appointment by logging on to www.csmceconsult.com.
To ensure the safety of patients, the RT PCR swabbing station is located at the ground floor level of its Steel Parking 1. The swabbing station is open Monday to Friday from 7 AM to 11 AM and 1 PM to 4 PM from Monday to Friday. It also opens from 7 AM to 11 AM every Saturday. CSMC also implements strict social distancing measures and conducts thorough disinfection and sanitization after each test.