Chair of the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) Enas Al Kuwari said that HMC started using manual rapid antigen testing for COVID-19 with symptomatic cases.
Al Kuwari told Qatar News Agency (QNA) said that the rapid testing kits used in some of HMC's facilities will be standardized in schools over the coming period to test teachers who are yet to receive their COVID-19 vaccine doses. She added that the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at HMC has already begun cooperating with Primary Healthcare Corporation (PHCC) to train Health Hospital School's nurses on using the manual rapid antigen test kit as a precautionary measure with unvaccinated teachers on a weekly basis. She stressed that adopting the new method with teachers aims to provide a safe and healthy environment for teachers and students.
She said the rapid test relies on taking a sample from the nose, with the test results ready after 10 to 15 minutes. She said that the test kit can reach 97 percent accuracy in detecting cases in its first week of infection. She added that the test is used with cases that have shown infection symptoms such as fever or coughing, among other symptoms.
She added that another benefit to the rapid test, in addition to accuracy and speed, is that it is much more convenient to take a sample from the nose in the rapid test compared to the PCR test, which relies on the nasopharyngeal swab. She revealed that the rapid tests are currently being used in the emergency units at Hamad General Hospital, women's hospital, Al Khor hospital, Al Wakra hospital, and the children's. She said that the aim of using the tests there was to facilitate the process of referring patients to the right clinics.
Al Kuwari said that the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at HMC has provided a wide variety of COVID-19 tests since the onset of the pandemic. She noted that positive cases based on the rapid test will then do a PCR test, given the latter will remain the gold standard for diagnosing COVID-19 infections.
Source: Qatar News Agency
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