COVID-19: No Rapid Diagnostic Test kit for virus is validated – NCDC



The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Sunday declared that no Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) kit for the Coronavirus pandemic has been validated and approved for sale.

Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General of the NCDC, gave the clarifications in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

Ihekweazu who is reacting to an alleged test kits received by the Government of Nigeria that can only be used in molecular laboratories, said NCDC is aware of ongoing studies and remains committed to scaling up testing capacity in the country.

He said that NCDC is aware of the validation studies that were on going and until these were completed, the agency cannot procure RDTs, because they do not know if they would work.

“These can give false results,” he said, adding that the COVID-19  test reagents which Nigeria have received  and procured recently can only be used for Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), tests in existing molecular laboratories.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that PCR was invented in 1983 by Kary Mullis. 

It is a method widely used in molecular biology to rapidly make millions to billions copies of a specific DNA allowing scientists to take a very small sample of the DNA and amplify it to a large enough amount to study in detail.

Ihekweazu noted that there have been important developments such as the use of Gene-Xpert machines, adding that NCDC was  also expanding its testing capacity using such technology.

He said that these reagents would be distributed by NCDC to the six existing COVID-19 testing laboratories in the country, and more as the agency expands its testing capacity.

NAN reports that Lagos State remains the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in the country.

NCDC on its twitter handle said: “As at 10:40 pm March 28, there are 97 confirmed cases of COVID19 reported in Nigeria with one death.

A breakdown of cases by states indicated that Lagos has 59; FCT 16,  Oyo seven, and Ogun three cases.

Others are Enugu, Edo, Bauchi, and Osun with two cases each, while Ekiti, Rivers, Benue and Kaduna have one case each, respectively. (NAN)