The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has published new guidance for State Governments, public and private institutions, on the use of approved Antigen (Ag) based Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDT) for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
After the announcement of the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of two Ag RDTs which were made by SD Biosensor and Abbott for the testing of the COVID-19 back in September 2020 by the World Health Organization, the Nigerian Center for Disease Control in collaboration with other stakeholders did carried out a national validation on these RDTs.
A new study which was carried out during the screening held at National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) camps showed that these RDTs meet the minimal standard required for sensitivity and specificity of the COVID-19 diagnostic test which is why the NCDC plan to consider the uses of the RDTs as they get more EUA from the WHO in the nearest future.
The NCDC has therefore published a new guideline on how to use the RDTs in the country which is being recommended for use primarily in congregate settings which includes schools, hospitals for the testing of patients with symptoms of the disease as well as the periodic testing of frontline healthcare workers as well as prisons.
There are however some limitations with these tests compared to the more accurate molecular polymerase chain reaction or PCR method. A good example of such would be the fact that the currently available Ag-RDTs have lower sensitivity unlike the PCR tests which mean results could present as false in those who infact have the coronavirus.
With that said, the PCR remains the better option of testing people on whether they’ve contracted the coronavirus or not. With that said, there have now been guidance in order to ensure that cases like this are never again missed.
Considering the current testing capability in the country, the introduction of the Ag-RDTs will further increase the testing capacity in the country which is seeing a constant increase in the second-wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the report obtained by Brumpost, the Ag-RDTs is meant to further strengthen the testing prowess in the country especially in terms of shorter turnaround times as well as its also being cheaper to maintain the process.
The correct use of Ag-RDTs will also enable the Government of Nigeria to increase the pace of testing, tracing and providing care for people with COVID-19.
Speaking of the Ag-RDTs, they are portable and easy to use by healthcare workers even though there is need to take stricter preventive measures especially be handed by rained health care workers according to the report published by the NCDC.
The first case of the COVID-19 in the country was back in February of 2020 when an Italian National flew to the country and exhibited symptoms of the disease.
The NCDC has led in the expansion of testing capacity across the country with 112 public and private testing laboratories activated across all states with 74 of the public health laboratories providing free testing for the general public in the country.
In Nigeria, there have been more than 112,000 reported cases with over 1,400 fatalities while institutions have already resumed back to their activities as well as educational institutes also resuming on Jan 18th.
As the cases of the pandemic continues to spread across the globe, more vaccines are being lined-up for approval with those from big pharmaceutical giants like Pfizer, Morderna and AstraZeneca on the fore front of approval in Europe and America.
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