Written by Pavani Hapuarachchi
30 Apr, 2020 | 9:55 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st): Sri Lanka has conducted more than 20,000 PCR tests and the number of tests are being increased with the number of COVID-19 cases in the country, while experts pointed that authorities should rely on the PCR testing instead of antibody testing for diagnosis of COVID-19 patients.
Professor Malik Peiris at the School of Public Health of the Hong Kong University while joining an International Webinar on COVID-19 said that antibody testing for diagnosis of COVID-19 patients is not the primary approach that a country needs to take instead need to rely on PCR testing.
“PCR testing depends on the capacity each country has. Therefore, it needs to be decentralized to minimize the turn-around time,” Prof. Peiris said addressing the special webinar on Thursday.
Professor Malik Peiris became world renowned when his laboratory was the first to isolate the SARS Virus back in 2003, and the team that isolated the virus was headed by him.
According to Professor Peiris the minimum turn-around time of the PCR test is around 6 or 7 hours, and when added with the transport time, it becomes quite problematic.
“At the moment I believe that Sri Lanka’s testing capacity is adequate. But I think keeping in mind this is a long term effort, and there will be instances where the outbreak increases; you should try to bring it under control. I think this is the time to try and enhance and decentralize the capacity further,” told Prof. Peiris.
Meanwhile, Dr. Ananda Wijewickrama, the Chief Consultant Physician at the Infectious Disease Institute addressing the webinar on Thursday said, more than 20,000 PCR tests have been conducted in Sri Lanka.
“Up to now we have close to 700 patients in the country. That is about three per hundred incidents. We have done more than 20,000 tests. The number of tests are being increased with the number of cases. This is widely done across the country,” told Dr. Wijewickrama addressing the webinar.
According to Dr. Wijewickrama, at present anyone who tests positive in the PCR is admitted and health authorities have identified 5 hospitals where patients are being admitted to.
The Asia-Pacific Academic Consortium for Public Health (APACPH) in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) held an “International Webinar on COVID-19” on Thursday (30th April).
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