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COVID-19: Antigen Rapid Diagnostic Kits Trial Detects 124 Positive Cases

Preliminary findings released of the phase one trial which had a total of 1010 participants from 18 facilities including hospitals shows that only 124 positive COVID-19 cases were detected. All participants of the trial had to undergo both an the RDT test and would later carry out a Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to confirm the antigen result

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COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Diagnostic Kits have so far detected 124 positive cases during phase one trial being carried out by the Uganda National Health Laboratory Services.  

The trial was carried out using PanbioCOVID-19 Ag Rapid Test devices that are manufactured by an American based company, Abbot Laboratories. 

Preliminary findings released of the phase one trial which had a total of 1010 participants from 18 facilities including hospitals shows that only 124 positive COVID-19 cases were detected. All participants of the trial had to undergo both the RDT test and would later carry out a Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to confirm the antigen result.  

During the trial, tests were carried out using the RDTs on symptomatic alerts and contacts, patients with COVI-19 symptoms and health workers during the routine screening exercise. Other people who took part in the trial were symptomatic patients in schools and prisons.

According to the results released, the highest number of positive tests-30 was picked from Soroti Hospital followed by Mbarara with 15 positive tests.  Jinja hospital did not record any positive case of the disease using the tests while Mbale Hospital was the only one which had cases of inconclusive results.  

Dr Isaac Ssewanyana, the Director of Laboratory Services at the Uganda National Health Laboratory Services says that the results are good because they allow hospitals to diagnose the disease faster.  

He says the trials were double-blinded and as of now, they have not yet compared the findings from the PCR tests with those from the RDTs.  

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Research shows that the antigen tests able to give results within 15-30 minutes compared to PCR tests that might take a day of three.   

A study carried out in Spain this year shows that the Panbio COVID-19 Antigen RDT has a high sensitivity of up to 86.5 percent only in samples obtained during a patient’s first week of showing symptoms since viral loads are many.

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