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Antibody rapid test kits not recommended for Covid-19 screening, says MoH

KUALA LUMPUR (May 11): The Ministry of Health said it does not recommend the usage of the antibody rapid test kits (RTK) for the screening of Covid-19, as a negative test result does not guarantee the individual is free of the virus.

Director-General of Health Datuk Dr Noor Hisham said the tests that are recommended for screening purposes are the antigen RTK test and the reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT PCR) test.

“Both of these tests require the usage of a nasopharyngeal swab by a trained personnel, while the antibody RTK test, which uses a finger-prick method, cannot be used to detect active infections,” he said.

However, he said the antibody RTK test may still be used for the purpose of studies on the prevalence of the infection among the community and target groups.

Yesterday, the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) voiced its concern over the lack of clear guidelines on the testing of the workforce before businesses resume operations under the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO).

It said the previous announcement on using the antibody RTK for screening employees could not be carried out, due to the lack of necessary guidelines.

The association noted that the Social Security Organisation (SOCSO) recently announced it is discontinuing the use of RTKs for the screening of workers, despite previously announcing that the antibody RTK would be used.

It said it has been informed that only the RT PCR test will be used, which typically takes 24 hours or longer, depending on the volume of test samples and logistics.

“It must be noted that the RT-PCR test results received after three days, will not have any clinical value. Results must be received between 48 to 72 hours after testing, or the results may not reflect the current health status of the person tested,” it said.

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