PCR testing to continue with antigen testing

The Health Ministry says PCR testing will continue despite the import of antigen rapid test kits to Sri Lanka.

Health Ministry Secretary Major General Dr. Sanjeewa Munasinghe said that PCR testing has been found to be the best option.

He said that while antigen tests can detect the virus only if there is a high virus load a PCR test can detect if the virus load in an individual is high or low.

With the Peliyagoda coronavirus cluster emerging it was found that patients were being detected with a high virus load.

Dr. Sanjeewa Munasinghe said that since there was a threat of a major outbreak he had contacted the World Health Organization and requested antigen test kits.

As there was a delay, tenders were called for from local companies and around 28 companies had made submissions.

Dr. Sanjeewa Munasinghe said that the submissions that met the requirements have been put forward to the technical committee.

There were reports that the government had bypassed the tender process and picked a private company to purchase antigen test kits.

“The tender process has been followed. No one has been picked as yet as the samples from these companies are still being validated,” he said.

Dr. Sanjeewa Munasinghe said that the WHO, has meanwhile purchased 100,000 antigen test kits from India and will be gifting them to Sri Lanka today. (Colombo Gazette)