Doubts over the accuracy and reliability of coronavirus testing kits in the country are mounting after three Mashonaland East province nurses tested positive for coronavirus and then negative.
NewsDay reports that two of the nurses are stationed at Mt St Mary’s Hospital in Wedza while the third works at Ruwa Rehabilitation Centre.
A report produced by provincial medical director Simukai Zizhou on March 26 observes that the
health caregivers tested positive with the rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) and were immediately self-isolated before a second examination using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) produced negative results.
Zizhou confirmed the development on Monday saying that the three nurses were now certified COVID-19 free. Zizhou said:
The three were confirmed negative of the COVID-19 virus after the PCR tests. The RDT (test) is not specific.
It can pick some antibodies which at times are not infected by COVID-19. This RDT can only pick antibodies after a period of 14 to 21 days after infection. It is not really a good test. This is why we waited for PCR confirmation and confirm with the virus’ RNA (ribonucleic acid). These cases turned out to be negative; they have no COVID-19 virus.
Earlier this month, the Health Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo announced that the Ministry had identified defective kits.