Guidelines for Rapid Diagnostic Tests issued | Daily News

Guidelines for Rapid Diagnostic Tests issued

The guidelines for the use of locally validated and NMRA registered COVID 19 Ag-RDT (Rapid Diagnostic Test) in State sector health institutions and public health outbreak management work with ongoing review by Consultant Virologists/Microbiologists and Consultant Epidemiologists was signed by the Health Services Director General yesterday, Health Services Laboratory Services Deputy Director General Dr. Saman Karunaratne said.

Dr. Karunaratne said that the Medical Supplies Division has recently distributed the kits that were donated by the World Health Organization (WHO) to 42 hospitals island-wide and with the release of the guideline, they can carry out tests in consultation with consultant virologists or microbiologists.

According to the guideline, Ag-RDT is supplementary to RT-PCR in an outbreak and not replacing PCR. This test can be used to urgently isolate infectious individuals to prevent further transmission.

It can also be used to rapidly test high risk groups with potential transmission of the virus during an outbreak. It has been advised not to be used as a freely available screening or diagnostic assay in low risk situations or on demand without risk assessment.

The guideline stated that the clinically suspected COVID 19 patients who are admitted to isolation units of the hospitals can be tested with Ag RDT, in addition to the PCR test. Samples for both tests should be obtained simultaneously.

Patients tested positive on Ag RDT should be transferred to a COVID treatment unit and the sample taken for the PCR test be discarded. Patients tested negative on Ag RDT should remain in the isolation unit for the results of the PCR test.

Ag RDT can be performed on asymptomatic close contacts of a known COVID 19 patient after the verified exposure.

Samples of dead bodies can be tested with Ag-RDT, and if the samples are positive, COVID death can be confirmed and follow the recommended protocol for COVID deaths with further action according to the quarantine guidelines, if the samples are negative, PCR tests must be conducted where parallel sampling must be performed anticipating a follow up PCR.