AYALA Corp.’s healthcare unit AC Health recommends a “selective testing approach” in using rapid test kits for the detection of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), with priority to be given to those who have recovered.

AC Health, in a report released Wednesday, said available scientific literature and guidelines on the use of Rapid Tests for screening showed that “overall, it is used for surveillance and monitoring but not for diagnosis.”

“Rapid Testing has generated much interest — we recommend a selective testing approach, contingent on ensuring access to confirmatory tests,” it said.

The firm said confirmed COVID-19 patients or persons under investigation (PUI) who are in recovery should be prioritized in rapid testing to help in deciding when they are fit to return to work.

Frontliners who are possibly asymptomatic should also be considered for rapid testing as long as there is a capacity to do confirmatory tests.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved five rapid test kits that can be used by health professionals, but the results are subject to confirmatory tests.

The results of rapid test kits still have to be verified as these only measure antibodies in a patient’s blood sample and may yield a negative result.

“Antibody testing is recommended for surveillance and monitoring — there is no evidence to support use in diagnosis or mass testing,” the healthcare unit said.

The Department of Health is using reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction technique (RT-PCR)-based test kits wherein genetic material is extracted from throat and nose swabs to diagnose a patient for the COVID-19 virus. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas