IF THERE is a local government unit (LGU), or any government entity for that matter, like the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (Opav) that will insist in conducting coronavirus disease (Covid-19) test using the rapid anti-body test, its intention is not to determine the prevalence of the virus infections in its locality, but for something else, maybe for a money-making venture.
Why? Because no less than the Department of Health (DOH) discouraged LGUs to use rapid anti-body test for screening because of its inaccuracy and unreliability.
DOH Undersecretary and spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire told local chief executives in a virtual/on line forum over the weekend that rapid anti-body test does not show if a person has the coronavirus. It can only tell if the body has antibodies to fight off a virus.
“Proper timing is needed because anti-bodies do not show up if one is not sick. There have been many false-negative and false-positive results. The reliance of these anti-body test might have contributed to the spread of Covid-19 in the province of Cebu,” Vergeire said.
“It is not accurate, that’s why DOH does not recommend it,” she added. We are just wasting our resources if you use this for screening. This is also the advice of Vergeire to local officials in conducting tests on locally stranded individuals or residents returning to their hometowns. She said they should not undergo rapid antibody tests for Covid-19 screening since these do not accurately detect the virus. They should instead go on 14-day quarantine upon arriving in their destinations, Vergeire advised.
For the health department, the best practice is for local officials in low-risk areas to require a two-week isolation for returning residents from high-risk areas, whether they are tested or not. Those coming from low-risk areas should be isolated and tested if they have symptoms.”
Rapid test 2019-n CoV Total is a qualitative lateral flow test for the determination of IgA, IgM and IgG anti/bodies against Sars-Cov, which causes Covid-19 in human serum, plasma or whole blood specimens. Antibodies are produced by the immune system after an average of seven days after infection. The immunoglobulins M and A and G are produced in response to the infection of the Seroconversion for IgG and IgM occurs simultaneously or sequentially.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US does not currently recommend anti-body testing as the sole basis for diagnosis of acute infection and anti-body tests are not authorized by Food and Drug Administration for such diagnostic purposes. (Source: CDC testing overview article).
That is why those found positive in the rapid tests are still subjected to reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, the gold standard for Covid test. So, why these LGUs still insist in using rapid test when DOH itself discourages the use of it? Yes, it is affordable but unreliable. It’s a total waste of money, time and effort unless those who are behind it have their own hidden agenda.