As the number of coronavirus cases in Guam begins to drop, testing continues to play a critical role in the island’s ability to detect the virus before it spreads. To support testing capacity in Guam, the World Health Organization in collaboration with PIHOA has donated RNA extraction kits – essential to the process of testing for COVID-19.
"RNA extraction is the first step in being able to perform the standard in COVID-19 testing known by its acronym RT-PCR (Reverse Transcriptase-Polymerase Chain Reaction)," said Vasiti Uluiviti, PIHOA Regional Laboratory Strengthening Coordinator.
The RNA kits help extract a minute amount of genetic material or RNA from the virus in a patient’s sample, That genetic material is then converted into DNA and multiplied by the millions to allow a sufficient sample to be analyzed for the presence of the COVID-19 virus.
“Thank you, this testing will be exceptional for conducting 1,000 tests,” said Alan Mallari, microbiologist and lead medical technologist at the Guam Public Health Laboratory.
Guam has reported more than 2,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the island since the pandemic began. More than 70 percent of those cases were diagnosed in August and September alone - with one in 10 people testing positive for the virus.
“We are thankful to the World Health Organization for assisting Guam Public Health Laboratory in proving RNA extraction kits, which will help in testing and detecting COVID-19 cases,” said Anne Marie Santos, Administrator for the Guam Public Health Laboratory.