CAPE TOWN- The South African Department of Health is currently undergoing a nationwide serosurvey, which aims to determine status of national immunity. Results thus far have estimated that around 12 million South Africans have already been exposed to the virus without showing symptoms or even knowing they had it.
Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, says that South Africa has seen a downward trend in Covid-19 cases which could raise the question of the level of immunity that may already be existing in society.
CEO of Direct Retail Goods, Graeme Pienaar, says the antibody rapid test kits they have secured will help in estimating the percentage of people in a population who have antibodies against Covid-19.
“We have procured and landed the stock – authorised by South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) – and we have received the NICD Verification to dispense the stock immediately to all Healthcare Professionals, Clinics, Medical facilities and workplaces. This means we are geared up to assist research facilities and scientists with the national serosurvey study to understand how many people have been infected truly,” he said.
Made by Zhejiang Orient Gene Biotech, these antibody test kits analyse blood to detect SARS-CoV-2 antibodies that are formed by the immune system in response to a past infection with the virus. They are useful in picking up evidence that a person had the virus even if they were asymptomatic.
The tests are currently being distributed to major pharmacy companies in South Africa. Only medical professionals, including doctors, nurses and pharmacists, may procure and conduct the antibody tests on the public.
“You will not be able to buy the test, go home, and test yourself. The medical professional will procure the test directly from us. They will then register on the National Health Laboratory Service’s database. Those who come in to get tested will have their results uploaded to the national database,” said Pienaar.
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