From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has endorsed the use of two antigens Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) kits manufactured by SD Biosensor and Abbott for COVID-19 testing in Nigeria.
This follows the World Health Organisation (WHO) endorsement of the products and subsequent validation of the product by relevant local authorities and results of its use during the screening held at National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) camps.
The Centre said it is introducing the use of the rapid antigen tests as a means to contribute to Nigeria’s overall COVID-19 testing capacity.
NCDC in a statement on Monday confirmed that the RDTs met minimal standards for sensitivity and specificity of COVID-19 diagnostic tests, adding that it’s ready to consider other antigens RDTs as soon they gain EUA from WHO.
The Centre said: ‘We are recommending its use, primarily in congregate settings. These include settings such as schools, hospitals for the testing of patients with symptoms of COVID-19 presenting in hospital and periodic testing of health care workers, as well as prisons, etc.
‘While RDTs provide a faster turnaround time compared to the molecular Polymerase
Chain Reaction (PCR) method, there are limitations with the test. It has lower sensitivity compared to PCR tests and can, therefore, present false negative results in people who have been infected with the virus.
‘This is why the molecular PCR method remains the gold standard for testing. However, an algorithm has been included in the guidance to ensure that cases such as this are not missed.’
The NCDC said the RDTs provide significant advantages over other available testing methods, especially in terms of shorter turnaround times and reduced costs, advising that correct use of RDTs will enable Nigeria to increase the pace of testing, tracing and providing care for people with COVID-19.
NCDC advised that infection prevention and control measures must be adhered to by trained health workers administering the test.