Third COVID-19 test option available

−rapid antigen test to be rolled out in a week’s time  
−Ministry open to certifying private labs 

The Ministry of Health has added a third COVID-19 test, the rapid antigen test, to its current testing portfolio. This test, which tells if someone had a past infection, will be rolled out in a week. 

“Those tests are now being introduced into Guyana, and we in the public sector are starting that introduction at the end of this week to early next week,” Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Frank Anthony stated during Wednesday’s COVID-19 update.

While the test will be available in every region, it was ordered for use mainly in Guyana’s hinterland regions. 

Currently, the Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and the antibody tests are offered by the National Public Health Reference Laboratory and the Eureka Medical Laboratory, the only two facilities certified to do PCR testing in the country. 

Minister Anthony said the Ministry would certify private laboratories who want to offer the third test once they meet the necessary criteria.

“Now, I’m sure there might be labs, who would start bringing in rapid antigen tests, once they meet the criteria because WHO [World Health Organization] has established some criteria for these types of tests as well, we would check. So, whoever wants to use them could contact the Ministry, and we will go through a process of vetting, and once it meets those criteria, we will allow it.”  

The PCR test, which is the gold standard, can accurately diagnose whether somebody has COVID-19 or not. The antigen test is not as accurate as PCR, but it is quick. The other category is the antibody tests, usually done after full recovery from COVID-19 and tells if someone had the virus. 

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Coronavirus disease spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze. It also spreads when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth. We urge citizens to practice good hygiene and social or physical distancing also adhere to the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health, Guyana.