Pakistan

NCOC approves use of rapid antigen tests for Covid-19 patients

NCOC antigen

On Wednesday, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) approved the use of antigen testing for coronavirus patients to boost the testing capacity in the country due to rising COVID-19 cases.

According to Federal Minister Asad Umar, the National Command and Operation Centre approved the use of antigen testing for corona patients amid rising cases which were slowed down in July and now are feared to reach up to alarming level. Taking to the micro-blogging website, Umar said the NCOC had approved the use of antigen testing in addition to the PCR tests currently being used throughout the country.

Read more: Section 144 Imposed in Islamabad Enforcing the Use of Face Masks in Public

“This is part of strategy to increase the level of testing. The symptomatic cases will all still be administered PCR tests,” said the minister. He added that the decision is in line with the guidelines issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The now antigen tests by NCOC are “commonly used in the diagnosis of respiratory pathogens, including influenza viruses and respiratory syncytial virus”, as per the statement of the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It added, “Antigen tests are immunoassays that detect the presence of a specific viral antigen, which implies current viral infection.”

It also said that antigen tests are useful for screen testing in high-risk settings. Moreover, carrying out repeat testing could identify the coronavirus patient quickly. It Leads authorities to take measures to control the virus and prevent transmission.

However, NCOC once again has ordered to make wearing masks mandatory for everyone in public places or even out from home. All public and private sectors have been directed to make it compulsory.

“Masks should also be used in markets and shopping malls,” said the NCOC. It also shared that, so far, authorities have imposed 4,374 lockdowns in 11 cities of Pakistan.

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