Dis-Chem has now added the option of a Covid-19 antibody test to the PCR swab test already being offered nationally at its drive-through testing stations.

“We are rolling out antibody testing to indicate whether the patient had Covid-19 infection and whether the patient has antibodies,” says Lizeth Kruger, Dis-Chem’s National Clinic Manager.

While antibody tests cannot necessarily detect active cases of Covid-19, which the traditional swab tests is for, a positive antibody test result, conducted more than 14 days after symptoms, means that it is “very likely” that a patient has had Covid-19, and has developed an immune response.

Antibody tests will also play an important role in providing data about the level of coronavirus infection at a population level. However, given the current level of knowledge about SARS-CoV-2 antibody tests, it is important to stress that regardless of your test result, patients must continue to apply basic non-pharmaceutical interventions (hand hygiene, social distancing and wearing of masks).

Prior to testing, patients will be thoroughly assessed by a qualified nursing practitioner to ensure that the antibody test is appropriate for each individual case and if the patient qualifies, a blood test will be performed. Alternatively, a conventional Covid-19 swab test will be available for anyone showing symptoms or for anyone who requires a test 72 hours prior to flying or before a medical procedure. “The drive through facilities will continue to cater for patients who have been in direct contact with Covid positive people or are currently symptomatic,” says Kruger.

“The testing system is now running smoothly and while there was a requirement to pre-register for testing, current volumes mean that anyone requiring a Covid-19 or antibody test can now visit any Dis-Chem clinic or drive-through testing centre and register on site for their test.”

Dis-Chem has partnered with Lancet Laboratories and has adapted its systems to accommodate this new offering. Kruger says Dis-Chem will monitor volumes closely and if demand is high, it may re-introduce the pre-registration requirement to avoid delays in delivering test results .

The antibody test (R380,00) and PCR swab test (R850) results will be made available by SMS and/or e-mail directly to the patient within 24 to 48 hours.

For more information on the rollout and location of testing sites check www.dischem.co.za

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