Pakistan receives Antigen Rapid Diagnostic Tests for Covid from United States. This will help Pakistan in prompt assessment of Covid 19 infections in its citizens. For this purpose, Pakistan got One Million COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Diagnostic Tests from USAID.
The United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), mobilized an airlift of COVID 19 Antigen rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) that arrived in Pakistan to help efficient diagnosis of COVID-19, and enable the country to respond to urgent health needs. The donation was formally received by Special Assistant to Prime Minister, Dr. Faisal Sultan in a ceremony at Islamabad.
In his remarks on the occasion, Dr. Sultan said, “We are thankful to the USAID for donating these rapid antigen tests”. He also recalled that this effort is a reflection of the warm relations between the two countries.
On the occasion, the USAID Mission Director, Julie Koenen said, “These RDTs will serve Pakistan needs of quick surveillance, diagnosis and keeping spread of COVID-19 to the lowest levels.” Since the start of the outbreak in early 2020, USAID has been working to save.
What is Antigen Rapid Diagnostic Test?
Antigen tests are commonly used in the diagnosis of respiratory pathogens, including influenza viruses and respiratory syncytial virus. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted emergency use authorization (EUA) for antigen tests that can identify SARS-CoV-2.
Antigen tests are immunoassays that detect the presence of a specific viral antigen, which implies current viral infection. Antigen tests are currently authorized to be performed on nasopharyngeal or nasal swab specimens placed directly into the assay’s extraction buffer or reagent. The currently authorized antigen tests include point-of-care, laboratory-based, and self-tests, and they are applicable to people of any age.
Antigen tests are relatively inexpensive, and most can be used at the point of care. Most of the currently authorized tests return results in approximately 15–30 minutes. Antigen tests for SARS-CoV-2 are generally less sensitive than real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for detecting the presence of viral nucleic acid.
The World Health Organization claims that SARS-CoV-2 antigen rapid diagnostic tests (Ag-RDT) are being used globally to test suspect COVID-19 cases in contexts where PCR diagnostic may not be available, often at subnational level. Moreover, Ag-RDTs contribute to increasing access to testing, as they can be utilized at point of care and provide access to results quickly. It is however critical than those performing testing be adequately trained.