Nepal | July 11, 2020

More PCR tests necessary for accurate diagnosis

Himalayan News Service
Share Now:

Kathmandu, May 26

A woman, who tested positive for coronavirus infection and was undergoing treatment at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, tested negative twice in the rapid diagnostic test. However, she tested positive for the infection in the polymerase chain reaction test in the National Public Health Laboratory.

Three of the five persons, who were admitted to Seti Provincial Hospital, tested negative in the rapid diagnostic test, but later tested positive in the PCR test. All three have been discharged from the hospital after recovery.

A female who had recovered from the infection after she tested negative twice in the polymerase chain reaction test, tested negative in the RDT after recovery. “A person who tests negative after recovery will have his/her antibody positive. This has posed a question on the efficacy of the RDT test kit that we are using,” said a doctor on condition of anonymity.

“If we are to prevent the infection from spreading, the government must immediately check the validity of our testing kits,” said the doctor.

Health experts have been raising questions on the validity of the rapid diagnostic test the government has been using.

“In the sensitivity test conducted in a laboratory outside the Capital in samples that tested positive for antibodies in the RDT method, only five samples tested positive for the respiratory contagion. The rapid diagnostic test must be used for large samples to find out sensitivity. But such validation has not yet been done,” said another health expert on condition of anonymity.

The government has conducted 97,967 tests using rapid diagnostic testing kits while it has conducted 54,424 tests with the PCR method.

The government has been repeating the polymerase chain reaction method if a person tests positive in the rapid diagnostic test.

The government has decided that the public can undergo RDT test for coronavirus. Also, it has said that people entering Kathmandu must come up with negative RDT test result.

“Both the decisions of the government are useless. The RDT test kits we are using do not tell us about the phase of infection. We are missing positive cases. As many of our cases are asymptomatic, there are high chances of infection spread in the community if we rely on RDT test kits. The government should test a large number of people using the polymerase chain reaction method. The idea is to test, trace and treat people,” said Dr Ashesh Dhungana, head of chest unit Bir Hospital.

“The RDT should be used only for surveillance. People should undergo PCR test as it is more sensitive and accurate than RDT. Anyone who tests negative in the RDT method but has the coronavirus will spread the infection in community,” said Dr Shravan Kumar Mishra, virologist at National Public Health Laboratory.

“The RDT test kits give positive result only after the seventh day of infection. RDT should not be used for clinical decision and it is not a correct approach. Blanket testing of blood samples using RDT is not reasonable,” said Dr Dhungana.

Despite questions on the sensitivity of RDT kits, the government has decided to procure 121,000 rapid diagnostic test kits. “The procurement process has already started.

The kits will be available in a few days,” said Bhogendra Dotel, director Management Division, under the Department of Health Services.

“To conduct a PCR test we need skilled manpower, wellequipped laboratory and the test is expensive. It is not possible to conduct PCR tests everywhere across the country.

But RDT test kits are cheaper and can be used immediately to test a large number of people. The objective of RDT is to find out whether or not there are cases in the community,” said Dr Samir Kumar Adhikari, assistant spokesperson at Ministry of Health and Population.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 27, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Infection rate high among returnee migrants

RAJBIRAJ, JULY 9 High rate of COVID-19 infection has been seen among people returning from third countries at present, while the infection rate was high among returnees from India two months ago in Saptari. According to District Public Health Office, of the 154 COVID infected persons being tre Read More...

Nepal at high risk of yet another locust invasion, five large swarms expected to fly in

KATHMANDU: Nepal could possibly be swarmed by locusts yet again as a large swarm is seen moving northward from Rajasthan of India, warned Plant Quarantine and Pesticide Management Centre. Five swarms of locusts are currently spaced out at 400 hectors of the area around Sikar of Rajasthan of India Read More...

Landslide causes major damage

KATHMANDU, JULY 9 The floods and landslides have caused great damage to the 102-megawatt Middle-Bhotekoshi Hydropower Project under construction in Sindhupalchowk district. The floods and landslides in the area, including Jambu Bazaar of Barhabise Municipality, have damaged the Middle-Bhotekos Read More...

735 stranded Nepalis rescued via five flights

KATHMANDU, JULY 9 The government today repatriated 735 stranded people from different countries through five different chartered flights. As per the statistics provided by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) office at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), these people were evacua Read More...

Three of a family killed in Lamjung landslide

LAMJUNG: Three members of a family were killed as landslide debris buried a house in Besisahar Municipality-7 of Lamjung district at midnight on Thursday. District Police Office (DPO), Lamjung identified the deceased as Deepak Tamang (30), his wife Bimaya Tamang (26) and their daughter Chhewang T Read More...

In Pictures: Health workers at the frontline

  A health worker collects throat swabs for Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing of patients at Teku-based Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital, in Kathmandu, on Thursday, July 9, 2020. Read More...

Japan braces for more heavy rain as death toll rises to 66

TOKYO: Parts of Japan still searching for missing people and evacuating those stranded by deadly floods and mudslides were bracing for more pounding rains through the weekend. The death toll has risen to 66 as of Friday morning, with 16 others still missing, the Fire and Disaster Management Agenc Read More...

Seven killed in landslides at various places in Pokhara

POKHARA: Seven persons were killed in landslides triggered by incessant rain at three places in Pokhara Metropolitan City of Kaski district today. Five persons were killed in Sarangkot, Pokhara-18, and one each at two other places. Landslide debris buried the house belonging to Tanka Bahad Read More...