Up to 80 percent of the 300,000 rapid coronavirus test kits ordered that the Czech Republic ordered from China are not working properly, ccording to regional hygienists who have tried the tests.
The test kits, worth 54 million korunas (€1.83 million), show false positive as well as negative results. This is because rapid tests cannot reliably detect infection in its initial phase.
The information came from hygienists from University Hospital Ostrava in the east of the country. Health officials thus labeled the rapid coronavirus tests as unreliable as they allegedly failed in 80 percent of cases. As an example, health experts described a case of a man who tested positive for coronavirus, but the following test showed that he was not infected.
The error rate is quite high, stated Pavla Svrčinová, a hygienist from the Ostrava region.
“We used the tests on those who came to the testing station. Fortunately, we also took samples for further testing and thus learned about the error rate of the tests,” explained Svrčinová.
However, according to seznamzpravy.cz, doctors and hygienists were informed that this might happen. Indeed, the rapid tests that arrived from China a few days ago do not reliably detect the infection at an early stage.
According to a document of the National Institute of Public Health, rapid tests have only a “supporting role” in testing.
The institute explained that these tests cannot detect the virus in the first five to seven days after being infected as the person has yet to start producing coronavirus antibodies in the blood. The rapid tests are based on detecting these antibodies, though.
“The test is not a diagnostic test,” the National Institute of Public Health stated.
In other words, it is better to use these tests at the end of the 14- days quarantine period to confirm if the person suspected of having coronavirus is indeed infected.
Hygienists in Ostrava have already announced that they will introduce such a system, using the tests on people who were placed under preventive quarantine but not tested.
Title image: Man holds a young boy as they queue to get tested for the novel coronavirus called COVID-19 at the Bulovka hospital in Prague, Czech Republic, Saturday, March 14, 2020. The Czech Republic’s government has approved further dramatic measures early Saturday to try and stem the spread of the coronavirus. The government has ordered retail businesses including shopping malls to close as of Saturday morning. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)