COVID-19 Antigen Testing Gets Stamp of Approval

The Ministry of Health And Wellness has approved the use of rapid antigen testing to check for suspected cases of COVID-19, to facilitate more wide-spread testing. 

The antigen test will be used in addition to the PCR test going forward.

Despite the ministry expressing confidence, the public is being told that the antigen test may record a false negative which would require a repeat test on the PCR machine.

The antigen test is billed as simple, cost-effective, and easily accessible with a turn around time of 30 minutes.

It will be available at both public and private doctor surgeries and will be used only for symptomatic patients.

For the rapid antigen test, only nasal swabs will be conducted to collect specimens.

The ministry will be procuring over eighty thousand antigen kits over the next 4 weeks and will be training medical personnel on how to administer these tests. 

The Medical Association of Jamaica is welcoming the alternative testing method but says it will have to be monitored as it will be a question of how high or low the false negative or false positive results are.

The ministry says the antigen test will be more efficient with the virus now in the community transmission phase.