SMC opens COVID lab, eyes 4,000 tests per day

San Miguel Corp. on Friday launched ots own COVID-19 testing facility with an initial capacity of 4,000 test per day to help boost the Philippines’ testing capacity.

Dubbed Better World Edsa, the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) laboratory situated at SMC’s headquarters in Mandaluyong is now conducting COVID diagnostic tests in line with the conglomerate’s goal of bringing back 50 percent of its workforce in the coming weeks.

SMC aims to test some 70,000 employees in its network. The facility’s capacity can be expanded to process up to 12,000 tests per day, easing the strain on the country’s testing and processing facilities.

Better World Edsa is equipped with two sets of RT-PCR machines and fully automated nucleic acid extraction systems or NATCH, making it one of the most advanced private testing laboratories in the country.

“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,” said SMC president Ramon S. Ang.

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.

“It’s our contribution the government’s effort to continuously test and trace COVID-19 transmission and contain it, as well as enable early intervention or treatment to save lives,” he said.

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