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Is there a rapid test for the new coronavirus in South Africa or must the test be done by a lab?

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases in South Africa has advised against the use of the rapid tests that measure the presence of antibodies to diagnose Covid-19.

“Testing for SARS-CoV-2 [the virus] is done in a specialised molecular laboratory, and turn-around times for results are 24-48 hours. The GeneXpert test (Cepheid) is a molecular test that will be introduced shortly and has a slightly faster processing time. It is often referred to as a point-of-care test, but still requires specialised machinery and therefore is not suitable for use at the bedside,” it explained on 27 March.

On 1 April, South Africa’s minister of health, Zweli Mkhize, said the country was “evaluating rapid test kits”.

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