PCR testing is WHO approved for COVID-19
As Guyana continues to respond to the pandemic of COVID-19 and provide the most up to date information and guidance to curb the spared of this deadly virus in our society, the Ministry of Health would like to address the concerns about testing for COVID-19. Within the last few weeks, we have noted lots of concerns and even misinformation about the different testing methods and laboratory confirmation of COVID-19.
The Health Ministry would like to assure members of the public that the test conducted by the National Public Health Reference Laboratory (NPHRL) is molecular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The Ministry has also noted that there are also available antibody rapid tests which may indicate that someone was exposed to the virus. The Ministry has a process to register these new test kits and allow their use for SCREENING purposes only. These rapid tests are NOT recommended to diagnoses COVID-19. The rapid test can indicate in a sample of blood if an individual has produced immunoglobulin M and G (IgM/IgG) to the SARS-CoV-2 and does not indicate if someone is currently infected with that virus.
The Ministry is therefore asking members of the public to desist from comparing these two distinctly different methods of testing (Molecular-PCR and Antibody-IgM/IgG) since the rapid antibody test is not approved to detect active COVID-19 cases. Using the rapid test, persons may be misled to believe that they may or may not be infected.
The Ministry once again restates that only the molecular-PCR test can credibly identify infected persons and anyone presenting with sign or symptoms of COVID-19 should have a nasal swab and molecular-PCR test done to ascertain their status.
We are asking that members of the public continue to observer all the recommended COVID-19 control measures including staying at home if possible, wear a face mask when out in the public, practice good hand hygiene and observe physical distancing always.
Collectively, we can stop the spread of COVID-19 and control this situation
For further information please contact the COVID-19 Hotline 231 1166, 226 7480 or 624 6674 or visit us at www.health.gov.gy.