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Don't use COVID-19 antibody tests incorrectly, health ministry told health authorities

Update: October, 05/2021 - 10:14

 

A person being tested for COVID-19. — Photo baosuckhoedoisong.vn

HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Health (MoH) has asked that local health authorities do not use COVID-19 antibody tests for the wrong purpose, as it is both costly and unnecessary.

The MoH had sent an official document to the directors of the Central Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, the Pasteur Institute and the Health Departments of provinces about testing for COVID-19 antibodies.

The document said that since Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính asked for rapid testing to be carried out nationwide, the Ministry has urgently implemented many methods of testing for COVID-19, including the use of real-time RT-PCR and rapid antigen tests to detect COVID-19 cases.

However, some testing units have been using COVID-19 antibody tests for those receiving the COVID-19 vaccine or those that have recovered, to determine the body's immune response to a past infection with the virus.

The Ministry said that, at present, the World Health Organization had not made a recommendation on the threshold of protective response provided after recovering from the COVID-19 virus.

In addition, these tests do not identify current viral infections nor do they help determine protection against COVID-19, but are used mainly for research and epidemiological evaluation and treatment.

Therefore, to effectively and properly use testing resources in pandemic prevention and control, the Ministry asked the Institutes of Hygiene and Epidemiology and the Pasteur Institute to guide health departments in administering appropriate testing methods, giving priority to the early detection of COVID-19 cases.

The Health Departments are requested not to use the antibody tests incorrectly as it is a waste of resources. Further distribution of information relating to the benefits and diagnostic value of different tests is required. 

Regarding testing, the Ministry of Health has sent another document to health departments to accelerate COVID-19 testing. 

In the document, the ministry instructed that testing in very high-risk areas must be done 3 times a week and through rapid antigen tests, to immediately detect F0s.

In other areas, testing must be done every 5 or 7 days.

Health departments must publish a list of the biological products used for rapid antigen testing, ensuring that they have been approved by the Ministry of Health, as well as a list of drugstores and medical units that provide these products. — VNS

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