Health Ministry urges the public not to rely on IgM/IgG rapid tests for diagnosis of COVID-19

Health Ministry urges the public not to rely on IgM/IgG rapid tests for diagnosis of COVID-19

By Iva Danford
Wednesday 22/04/2020
IgM/IgG rapid tests [image:]

Ministry of Health has strongly adviced all health providers in Fiji to cease offering IgM/IgG rapid tests for the diagnosis of COVID-19.

The Ministry states that these tests are based on the detection of antibodies and antigens and they are not reliable for the acute diagnosis of COVID-19.

They say members of the public should not rely on these rapid test kits, as their use jeopardises Fiji’s efforts to contain and suppress the coronavirus.

The Ministry states the World Health Organisation and the Royal College of Pathologists Australasia have both recently issued statements strongly advising against the use of these antibody and antigen based rapid test kits for the diagnosis of COVID-19.

The Ministry states that the Royal College of Pathologists Australasia recommends that the new IgG/IgM tests are not used to screen for early infection, and that current Polymerase Chain Reaction tests remain as the primary testing method for COVID-19.

They say false negatives would have serious risks of incorrectly reassuring people and therefore increasing the spread of infection within the community.

The Ministry say the molecular based Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test remains the gold standard for COVID-19 testing worldwide and is the test conducted at the Ministry of Health, Fiji Centre for Disease Control.

They stress that the only reliable testing for COVID-19 in Fiji is available through the Ministry of Health’s molecular laboratory at Fiji CDC.

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