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Covid testing controversy Erupts


COVID-19 mortalities may be higher in Zambia because private hospitals are recording false results.

This follows reports that some people who tested negative at private hospitals where blood samples were taken, turned out positive when swabbed at Government health facilities.

Reports suggest that some members of the same family tested negative to Covid-19 when blood samples were taken at a private hospital in Lusaka but tested positive when they were swabbed through the nose at Government hospitals. The reports suggest that most Covid-19 tests in private hospitals were coming out negative even when a person is positive.

According to health experts, blood tests for the virus detects the body’s memory of having seen the virus while the swab test picks up molecules of the virus itself from the nose and throat while determining if  one is still carrying the virus.

The Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI) however dispelled the reports, saying that both testing methods were acceptable.

ZNPHI director, Professor Victor Mukonka said it was incorrect to attribute the low number of Covid-19 cases recorded locally compared to global trends to the use of wrong testing methods.

Prof Mukonka said in an interview that testing Covid-19 using blood samples was also recommended and not a wrong method.

He said that both swabbing through the nose and using blood samples were correct methods for testing for Covid-19.

“There is nothing wrong with testing using blood samples. Swabbing through the nose and using blood samples are all okay,” Prof Mukonka said.


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