Your Covid-19 questions answered

What is a Covid-19 rapid test?

23 August 2021 - 07:00 By cebelihle bhengu
South African Health Product Regulatory Association (Sahpra) last week authorised a local biotechnology company, CapeBio, to manufacture Covid-19 rapid-test kits. Stock photo.
South African Health Product Regulatory Association (Sahpra) last week authorised a local biotechnology company, CapeBio, to manufacture Covid-19 rapid-test kits. Stock photo.
Image: 123rf.com/betonstudio

An announcement that SA will soon manufacture its own Covid-19 rapid-test kits in a partnership between the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and a local biotechnology company, CapeBio, has sparked interest among the public about what they are and their significance in the fight against Covid-19.

A PCR Test is used to diagnose people who have Covid-19. 

“A PCR Test is a nucleic acid-based test, RNA in the case of Covid-19. The test uses a set of enzymes technologies to accurately detect Covid-19 specific genetic markers,” CSIR told TimesLIVE.

The local manufacturing of the tests does not mean they will be made accessible to the public for wholesale. The council said they will be used by health professionals. 

“These kits are only used by clinical Pathology labs as they are not for home use. Samples are taken to these labs for testing. They use in-country equipment for analysis,” it said.

CSIR said the regulator has been deliberating on the approval of locally produced tests soon after the first lockdown. The approval seemingly took long as the regulator follows stringent criteria to ensure the highest quality of products.

“The stringent environment is important so that only quality products are passed, especially considering the importance of such tools. This is a testament to the value of collaboration and the skills that exist in the country to respond to such challenges,” said the council. 

CapeBio CEO Daniel Ndima said the company will produce up to 5,000 kits a day, with each kit providing 1,000 tests. 


subscribe