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Local testing for COVID-19 will soon be available – Dr Gonsalves

Local testing for COVID-19 will soon be available – Dr Gonsalves


ST VINCENT AND THE Grenadines (SVG) will soon have the capacity to do local testing for COVID-19.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said yesterday that the government has ordered Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) equipment, that can test for COVID-19, while they are also looking into a new 45-minute test that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States of America (USA).

Last Saturday, a diagnostics company in the USA called Cepheid received authorization from the FDA to use its rapid molecular test for pointof- care patients that can detect the virus that causes COVID-19 in 45 minutes.

It is the first test that can be conducted entirely at the point-of-care for patients and deliver results in less than an hour. Typically, tests are sent to central reference labs that can take days to deliver results.

CNBC says the test, called SAR-CoV-2 Xpert Xpress, was developed by Cepheid, and was designed to detect SARSCoV- 2, the virus that is causing COVID-19.

Cepheid uses a testing machine called GeneXpert that can run a full test in 45 minutes. There are currently more than 23,000 automated GeneXpert systems worldwide.

Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Simone Keizer- Beache told SEARCHLIGHT on Monday that we have a GeneXpert machine in SVG.

She however noted that demand for the testing kits that goes with this machine is great, but the Ministry is working to see if they can acquire some of the kits while they also await the arrival of the PCR equipment.