Pakistan

KP introduces rapid antigen test for diagnosis of covid in remote districts

KP rapid antigen

The health department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) has introduced a new antigen detection rapid test (Ag-RDT) in its covid-19 testing policy to ensure the rapid diagnosis of corona patients in the far-flung districts.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government approved a new policy for Coronavirus testing to make the rapid diagnosis of patients in few districts of the province where transportation of samples for PCR to the laboratories has been a daunting challenge since the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has approved a new policy for Covid-19 testing to ensure the rapid diagnosis of patients, also the World Health Organization and the federal government has already approved the antigen detection rapid test (Ag-RDT).

It will be introduced in 8 districts in which Chitral Upper and Lower, Torghar, South and North Waziristan, Kohistan Upper and Lower, and Kolai Palas in the first phase are included.

According to the notification issued by the health department, the hospitals will use the Ag-RDT method under the new strategy which ensures results within 30 minutes as compared to a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) that takes 24 hours.

Moreover, the KP government largely focused on PCR testing but the government decided to incorporate Ag-RDT into testing policy as the rapid antigen test had increasing acceptance.

The notification further says that Ag-RDT was a point of care (PoC) test and in any infectious diseases, a test with rapid turnover time and ease of use added to early diagnosis, management, and control of the ailment. It has a rapid turnaround time, which is critical for the identification of Covid-19 infection and rapid implementation of infection prevention and control strategies.

All the healthcare facilities, particularly the ones where the turnover of patients is high and quick decisions are required, will be provided with the Ag-RDT kits and all those patients, who are presenting symptoms compatible with Covid-19, influenza-like illness (ILI), or severe acute respiratory illness (SARI), will be tested by Ag-RDT initially.

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