Doctor tests positive in COVID-specific lab antibody test

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Doctor tests positive in COVID-specific lab antibody test

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A doctor who was traced to have been in contact with the coronavirus disease (COVID) 2019-positive patient who died at the Governor Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital (GCGMH) in Tagbilaran City also tested positive for the disease.

GCGMH chief Dr. Mutya Macuno, in a virtual announcement set by the provincial government on Thursday, said that the laboratory sensitive antibody test of the doctor came back positive for the immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibody.

The “new type of test,” which detects antibodies and is also called a chemiluminescence immunoassay (CLIA) test, is 91 percent and 98 percent specific for SARS-CoV-2 IgM and immunoglobulin G (IgG), respectively, Macuno added.

SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes the COVID-19 respiratory illness.

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“Together they have this score of as high as 96 percent specific and sensitive,” she said.

According to Macuno, the doctor was the one who intubated the COVID-19 patient who was admitted at the GCGMH from May 25 until his death on May 26.

“Dili unta to siya angay ang mo-tubo sa pasyente pero ning-volunteer siya na siya,” she said.


Macuno assured that the doctor was wearing complete level-four personal protective equipment during the operation.  

Meanwhile, the doctor has been under quarantine since the positive test result of the patient was released on June 4.  

He was pinpointed to have been asymptomatic throughout his quarantine, Macuno said.

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Health authorities have conducted initial contact-tracing and have found out that his girlfriend, who was also not showing any symptoms of the disease, was his only recent close contact.

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COVID-specific test

Macuno said that both the rapid and CLIA tests detect antibodies. Both also use blood samples, not swab samples like the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test which is considered as the gold standard in COVID-19 testing.

However, unlike the rapid antibody test, the CLIA test is done in the laboratory making the latter more accurate while being more specific for detecting COVID-19.

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“As claimed by the manufacturer and as we researched and studied…is ang iyang pagka-specific for the IgM na SARS-CoV-2 is 91 percent and for the IgG, it is 98 percent,” said Macuno. “Wa man g’yud nato ni siya gipasulod, wa ta mo start ani, not unless gi-research siya sa atong infection control, ug gi-recommend siya sa atong pathologist.”

The new kits for the SARS-CoV-2-specific testing only arrived recently at the GCGMH which has been designated as the province’s COVID-19 hospital.

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So far, there have been only four individuals in Bohol who tested positive for COVID-19 through PCR testing—three have recovered while one died, the 89-year-old patient at the GCGMH who was handled then by the doctor who recently tested positive in a CLIA test.

The elderly patient died of severe myocardial infarction secondary to pneumonia on May 26, the same day he was subjected to a PCR test. Findings of which were released on June 4 yielding a positive result.

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