SMC unveils own COVID-19 testing lab for 70,000 workforce

Jul 3, 2020

IN yet another innovation, San Miguel Corp. opened the Better World Edsa on Friday which houses the company’s own state-of-the art COVID-19 RT-PCR testing laboratory.

The facility will be used to test some 70,000 SMC employees in an effort to unburden the health sector and ensure a safe return-to-work strategy.

SMC president and COO Ramon S. Ang led the unveiling of marker along with National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-19 chief implementer and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., COVID-19 Task Force deputy chief implementer and testing czar Secretary Vince Dizon, and Department of Health undersecretary Leopoldo Vega.

The Better World Edsa testing facility has the capacity to process 4,000 tests per day, expandable to 12,000 as it tries to help the government reach testing capacity to 50,000 per day.

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    It is equipped with two sets of RT-PCR machines and fully automated nucleic acid extraction systems or NATCH. A set is comprised of two PCR machines and one NATCH. This makes the facility one of the most advanced private testing laboratories in the country.

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    “Two weeks into the quarantine last March, we included the testing laboratory as part of our business continuity plan. We procured the machines, and had personnel undergo training for its full-scale operations,” related Ang.

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    “With this facility, we are taking responsibility for testing our own employees and unburdening our health system. It also helps make our operations more resilient to disruptions brought about by the virus. Lesser disruptions on our operations will allow us to better contribute to the immediate recovery of the economy,” he said.

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    According to Ang, the company aims to bring back 50 percent of its workforce in the coming weeks.

    Prior to the shift to general community quarantine, SMC had already commenced testing its employees, prioritizing those in its food manufacturing facilities, to further stabilize the country’s food supply in the coming months.

    Ang reiterated that companies should help the government with testing and reduce reliance on the already burdened system.

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