Everything you should know about COVID-19 testing in Sri Lanka

Everything you should know about COVID-19 testing in Sri Lanka

Everything you should know about COVID-19 testing in Sri Lanka

Written by Staff Writer

06 Apr, 2020 | 12:02 am

COLOMBO (News 1st):- How are the tests to detect COVID 19, carried out? Are there alternative methods that are different to the one that is already being carried out.

News1st spoke to the Director of the Medical Research Institute, Dr Jayaruwan Bandara, to find out more details on the matter. Director of the Medical Research Institute, Specialist Dr Jayaruwan Bandara said:

“To diagnose the COVID -19 infection the gold standard test is PCR that is Polymerase Chain Reaction. Without doing PCR test, no one can tell you if you are infected with the COVID-19. So PCR test is highly specific and higly sensitive. The way of testing is done in many laboratories in Sri Lanka. The main laboratories is with us that is the MRI. If the cliniticion is suspecting that you have got COVID-19 they will definitly make arrangements for you to undergo the PCR.”

When asked about the number of tests conducted on a daily basis, the specialist doctor responded:

“We can cater to even more than 200 samples per day. MRI is ready to serve the country 24/7. We have that capacity. The MRI is the place where the best supply chain is available in this country for COVID-19”

Why are we not shifting to the “Rapid test” methodology which involves blood testing?

“There are other tests has been developed in the world. That kind of test is to recognize, antigen antibody. During the antibody testing some can get a positive result. That is good but according to scientists and the specialists in this field. Antibody testing will be negative or AB testing could be negative with those who have the infection. If we get a diagnosis with a negative result of patient with the infection or else COVID-19 infected person, even without knowing that person is infected with COVID-19 we might say that they are free from the disease. If this happens, we might release that patient to the society diagnosing him as negative for COVID-19, though he is infected. That is the danger in antibody testing.”

He further said:

“So that is why we want to select the best antibody testing kit.The MRI has started to validate or evaluate this antigen antibody kits for testing purposes. So we have started that evaluating process and in another couple of days we would be able to find the best test kit to be used in future.”

Dr Bandara stated that yesterday 122 tests were carried out and added that 2 individuals were confirmed to have been infected with COVID-19.

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