Rapid tests for Covid-19 ‘non-confirmatory,’ health officials say

Apr. 24, 2020

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Health officials in Davao Region reiterate that the rapid-antibody test is not a confirmatory tool for coronavirus disease-2019 (Covid-19) testing.

Assistant Regional Director of the Department of Health Region 11 Dr. Lenny Joy Rivera revealed Department Memo 0180 Revised Interim Guidelines on Expanded Testing of Covid-19 clarifies the use of the rapid antibody test.

“The rapid antibody-based kits is not a stand-alone test in the diagnosis of Covid-19. It is not a definitive diagnostic tool,” Rivera said.

She added that antibody-based kits should be approved and validated by the Department of Science and Technology and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.

The antibody-based rapid test kits detect the presence of antibodies in an individual’s blood or serum.

Antibodies detected by these types of test kits are identified as Total Antibody, IgG antibody, and IgM antibody.

“Having these rapid test kits could lessen (the number of) who should be tested using the RT-PCR machines. It will be used to confirm or those cited as probable cases,” the health official claim.

Rivera pointed out that asymptomatic patients can be tested with the rapid-antibody test kits if the RT-PCR is not available.

“At present, asymptomatic health workers are (being) tested using RT-PCR machines. They can now be tested using the rapid antibody-based kits if they do not exhibit symptoms within the 14 day-quarantine,” the health official said.

She, however, warned that rapid test kits are still best used in symptomatic patients to determine the positive Covid-19 cases that spread and transmit infection.

“If an individual has a negative result in a rapid test kit; we cannot say that they are no longer infectious. If they are found positive, they will still be subjected to the RT-PCR to confirm,” she said.

Licensed medical doctors, she added, should interpret the results to avoid false negatives and positives.

Dr.Maria Elinor Concha, Chief Training Officer of the Southern Philippines Medical Center cited that in getting the true positives there should be access to the RT-PCR machines.

The RT-PCR testing remains to be the gold standard in the country to determine whether the person is infected or infectious with the coronavirus.(davaotoday.com)

comments powered by Disqus