TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The term ‘rapid test’ would no longer be unfamiliar amidst the times of the COVID-19 pandemic as we are experiencing currently, however, there is a misconception among the public regarding the use of the rapid test equipment.
The actual use of it was once explained by Achmad Yurianto, former spokesperson for the national COVID-19 task force, who said that rapid tests are used during the screening stage rather than a final detection device.
According to physician Akmal Taher, Achmad’s statement means that people undergo rapid tests not to detect or diagnose whether they have contracted the virus that first broke out in Wuhan, China.
“There are many people who think that rapid test is to prove whether someone is positive for COVID-19 or not. In actuality, that can only be achieved through polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or swab tests. It’s two different things and should not be likened,” said Akmal Taher in an online seminar with the Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI) on June 28.
He elaborated that rapid tests work by testing blood samples to calculate a patient’s antibody, which will be more effective as an examination process during a patient’s recovery stage.
“Just like in Singapore, rapid tests are for treatment. It’s to determine whether a patient has developed an antibody or not so that they can be transferred from an emergency unit to a normal facility due to a patient’s improving condition,” said Akmal.
Then why have rapid tests been launched on a large scale in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic? Which has caused the misconception among the public that the tool is diagnostic equipment? According to Akmal, this is due to Indonesia’s limited PCR/swab testing kits at the time which is why people were redirected to the available option at the time.
“That is why prior to PCR tests, [people] were diverted to the rapid test first. In actuality, the WHO itself does not recommend rapid tests to diagnose COVID-19,” the surgeon explained.
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