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COVID-19: Use Of FG’s Rapid Test Kit Illegal-Lagos Commissioner For Health, Prof. Abayomi



Health Workers

The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi has described the use of the Federal Government’s Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) kits in Lagos as illegal.

Professor Abayomi stated that this would remain the case until the state can validate the efficacy of the kit.

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Speaking at a news briefing on COVID-19 Lagos Response, Prof. Abayomi stated that the RDT kits have a very high risk of giving results which could be traumatising for citizens.

Recall that on Thursday, July 9, the Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu had revealed that the Federal Government had developed a locally-made test kit for COVID-19.

The test kit identified as RNA-Swift was developed locally and had purportedly undergone validation as a fitting test kit for the identification of SARS-CoV-2; the causative agent for COVID-19.

Prof. Abayomi has however faulted the efficacy of the test kit.

He said: “In the event that a false-positive result is given, a potentially negative person will be subjected to trauma; isolation and treatment like a positive patient. And in the event that a false negative is given; a potentially positive person is allowed to continue to roam freely in the community regardless of his positive status… As a result, the use of RDT kits is illegal until Lagos State can validate RDT kits that actually work.’’

He further explained that the State Government had considered the use of the RDT kits as part of the strategies to expand its testing capacity. However, he revealed that none of the RDT kits submitted for validation passed the required test.

“In order to expand our testing capacity, we considered the use of RDT Kits and to facilitate the quick validation of the RDT Kits and reduce the barrier of entry for proposed manufacturers and suppliers of RDT Kits, Mr. Governor paid the validation fees for the RDT kits. However, upon review of several RDT kits that were submitted for validation; we can report that none of the RDT kits passed the validation exercise,” Abayomi disclosed.

Prof. Abayomi

While noting that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has not declared any RDT kit useful for public use; he stated that it is also illegal for private health facilities to test or manage COVID-19 cases; without proper accreditation and validation by the regulatory authorities.

“It has come to our attention that several laboratories and health facilities are testing and managing COVID-19 patients without proper accreditation and validation by the regulatory authorities. Two laboratories were sealed as a result of this. We will continue to closely monitor all facilities that partake in these illegal activities and endanger the lives of all residents of Lagos State and instigate punitive measures to ensure they desist from such activities,” the Commissioner said.

Disclosing that only seven private laboratories were already accredited by the State government; he maintained that the second phase of accreditation and validation of laboratories will be conducted when the demand arises.

“It is important to reiterate that the COVID-19 pandemic is a public health emergency. The Lagos State Government has adopted a central planning approach to managing its response,” he stated.


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