UPLB inaugurates its COVID-19 testing center

UPLB formally opened its COVID-19 Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory (CMDL) in ceremonies held on July 10 at the site.

The UPLB-CMDL will serve as a subnational testing center for Laguna and nearby provinces, thereby helping ease a major bottleneck in the COVID-19 response in the country.

In a speech given during the inauguration program, Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr. thanked the university’s partners in the local and national government, as well as other sectors, particularly the Philippine Red Cross, for helping make the UPLB-CMDL possible.

He also recognized the efforts of the Task Force Laban ng Bayan Kontra COVID-19, chaired by Dr. Rex B. Demafelis, vice chancellor for research and extension, and the university’s vice chancellors and other officials who helped in setting up the UPLB-CMDL.

“The establishment and certification of UPLB CMDL is a core project of the UPLB Task Force Laban ng Bayan Kontra COVID-19, which has the mission to provide express assistance in our country’s effort to fight COVID-19”, Chancellor Sanchez further said.

According to him, the Task Force, together with the rest of the UPLB community, has been relentlessly working to ensure that this laboratory is not only up to the required standard for analyzing COVID-19 test material, but also that this laboratory has the necessary staff to complement and to proficiently carry out the analysis and tasks expected from them as a subnational COVID-19 testing center.

“After months of hard work, we are truly proud and pleased for everyone today that the UPLB- CMDL is now certified and operational. We are ready, keen, and committed to help in diminishing the backlog that our country is going through regarding the turnover of COVID-19 test results,” he added.

UP President Danilo L. Concepcion expressed his support for UPLB and narrated how other UP campuses also stepped up in helping hospitals with the much-needed testing. He also said that UP students and constituents will never back down in serving the country, and compared how they rose to the challenge of fighting COVID-19 to the time during the second world war when UP doctors and students treated both Filipinos and Japanese in their staunch dedication to their oaths of protecting humanity.

In his message, Senator Richard J. Gordon, chairperson of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee and chairman of the Philippine Red Cross, said that the COVID situation is going to “get worse before it gets better,” and emphasized the need for more testing.

“We have to make sure that this (COVID testing) is available for everyone. Habang nagtetest tayo, lalabas at lalabas yan (positive cases). The dilemma is do we allow the people to work or do we test first? Obviously, all nations in the world are saying that we allow people to work but we must test,” he said.

“It’s important that we are sharing the experience and the knowledge, and that should be the case (for the UPLB CMDL). It is my hope that the opening signals the fact that the premier university in the Philippines is involved; and that we came here to support and be supported. Hindi na pwedeng kanya-kanya. Kailangan partnership tayo,” he added.

Laguna Governor Ramil L. Hernandez also thanked the university for being its partner on COVID-19 testing and commended how UPLB stepped up in helping the provincial government.

Hindi madali na mag-put up ng ganitong klase ng facility dahil kami mismo sa provincial government ay dumaan sa butas ng karayom,” he said.

The Laguna governor also reported that the province has recently opened its own COVID-19 molecular laboratory.

Also present during the ceremony was Communications Secretary Martin M. Andanar who said that the UPLB CMDL “opens the doors for early diagnosis, timely treatment, and improved chances of recovery against the dreaded disease.”

Other guests who witnessed the event were Congresswoman Ruth Hernandez, Los Baños Mayor Caesar Perez, Cabuyao City Mayor Rommel Gecolea, former Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial, and other representatives from local governments.  

Last June 29, the UPLB CMDL received its certification and License to Operate from the DOH after its laboratory analysts and medical technologists perfected the Proficiency Test for SARS-CoV-2 detection by Real-Time PCR.

For information and inquiries on the services of the UPLB CMDL, please e-mail cmdl.uplb@up.edu.ph.  (Sophia M. Mercado)

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