Singapore – CEO of Temasek Holdings, Ho Ching, took to social media to explain why fast test kits aren’t being utilised in hospitals amid the need to detect the Covid-19 virus as early as possible.
As the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases around the world increases, Mdm Ho continues to shed some light for the public by sharing information on the pandemic.
Fast test kits are “a dream we are all chasing,” she wrote in a post on Wednesday (April 8). However, she enumerated the reasons why such testing methods are not being used in Singapore hospitals. One is specificity, wherein a fast test kit could get confused with a different fragment and could be tagged as Covid-19 when in fact it is dengue, said Mdm Ho.
Another issue is the speed of detection. She used quick antibody tests as an example and noted that they might be less painful to take, “just a pinprick perhaps” compared to the long swab into the nose, but would require someone to be two to three weeks into a disease for the test to detect anything.
“By 10 days, a vast majority would already have symptoms (of Covid-19), and on the way to recovery or fighting in ICU,” said Mdm Ho adding that this method is “not very useful when we are trying to detect infections as early as possible.”
Although the antibody test kits, among others, have a role in the medical field, Mdm Ho noted that “they are not meant to be the first-line test to check and confirm the infection as early as possible.” Her explanation was in response to those “wondering why our hospitals are not using these supposedly super-duper fast test kits.”
To date, Singapore has a total of 1,623 confirmed cases, with six reported deaths and 406 recovered patients. Of the 1,211 active cases, 29 are in critical condition.
The country has also implemented its circuit breaker measures, closing down schools and other non-essential establishments and urging the public to remain indoors as a way to limit the community spread of the virus.
Members of the online community extended their appreciation for Mdm Ho’s informative posts during the pandemic.
Meanwhile, others commented that the antibody tests would prove helpful in indicating who is eligible to go back to work. Liat Lim said, “They are trying to do that in New York to get the economy going as fast and as safe as possible.” Conrad Li added that those “potentially immune could be the anchor for the economy/essential services.”
There is a lot of talk about fast test kits. That is a dream we are all chasing. Usually, there is a trade-off…
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