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Lagos rules out use of rapid test kits for Coronavirus

COVID 19 in Ikorodu

by Winifred Okafor

The Lagos State government has ruled out the option of Rapid Test Kits for COVID-19 testing, saying most results from rapid tests are five times inaccurate and not fit to be used in an outbreak like COVID-19.

The state Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, stated this while inspecting a completed 120-bed isolation centre provided by the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) as part of the efforts to support the state government in the COVID-19 containment in the state.

Abayomi told journalists the rapid testing was yet to be validated anywhere in the world due to its high degree of inaccuracy.

The Commissioner said: “A rapid test may only be 50 percent accurate and that means five out of 10 times rapid test will give you a wrong result. He said the state government is currently using a Molecular Biology test that can only be done in a reference laboratory and not anywhere.

Abayomi also disclosed that currently, the three laboratories in the state has a capacity for running up to 100 tests daily, adding that plans are on the way to increase it to 150 by next week.

He added: “We can test up to a 100 right now but as from next week, we should be able to increase it to 150 upwards and other week, 200 upwards. So the kind of laboratory we use for COVID-19 is not an ordinary laboratory and results from them are 100 percent accurate.”

On why many people are not being tested, he said: “I want the public to understand that these are not the type of laboratory you just walk in and say you want a blood test. They are very precise laboratories. For example, if you just want to know your status, you are not qualified for testing. We don’t test for peace of mind we test to determine that the sickness is COVID-19 or something else. So, there are criteria that qualify you for testing. If you meet those criteria, then we test you. We have enough capacity right now at the moment.”

“In a rapid test most of the time, Quiet often, you may not be sure of the result you are given. For instance, if you test positive we are going to admit you based on that result and you are now going to be put in a ward where there are other positive patients. Within six hours you will become positive. That is a risk we are not prepared to take. Similarly, if you are positive and we give you a negative result you will go back to your house and positive, then you are now going to endanger your family and the community. So we are not ready for the rapid test yet because we are not sure of the accuracy and we need to ensure that we validate it in this environment.”

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Idris Aina
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