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Aug 28, 2020

Government Considers Rapid Tests as an Alternative to PCR

Dean Barrow

The use of rapid tests has up until now proven fairly unreliable, despite the quick turnaround time for results to be made known.  Consequently, the Ministry of Health has relied primarily on PCR tests which are more accurate.  The constant complaint of delayed results, sometimes times as much as five days, has forced government to look at other alternatives, including the use of antigen.


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“These rapid tests, and let me concentrate my remarks for the time being, on the antigen rapid tests.  Some of these antigen rapid tests have a turnaround time of as little as fifteen minutes, as opposed to the twenty-four hours for our regular PCR tests and the, perhaps three or four hours for the Gene Expert PCR tests.  So here it is that we have all these antigen rapid tests that can give you results in as little as fifteen minutes.  The problem with our not having resorted to the use of these antigen rapid tests is because there are reliability issues with pretty much all of them and the seriousness of these issues differs of course from manufacturer to manufacturer, but in the end it is sufficient to say that no rapid test, we’re dealing with the antigen type, but even with the antibody test, no rapid test has reached equivalency with the PCR test and that is why in Belize we continue to place all our bets on the PCR test.  No rapid test has reached equivalency with the PCR, none that is until now.”

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