Government has put in place mechanisms to bar entry of fake testing kits that have hit the market from manufacturing companies in China.
Spain is one of the countries that has been hit hard. In a media report last week, officials in Spain are said to have withdrawn 58,000 testing kits procured from a Chinese company, saying their accuracy was very poor, at 30 per cent.
Prof Pontiano Kaleebu, the director of Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI), said the institute has put in place protocols to protect the country from influx of such kits.
“For all these kits we are evaluating to ensure they have no problem,” Prof Kaleebu told Daily Monitor yesterday in a telephone interview.
He said a number of kits they have got had varying sensitivity. He said they are using kits from Berlin supplied by WHO as gold standard to evaluate other kits.
“That is why the kits we are using need to have WHO or FDA approval and we have put in place protocol to further evaluate them,” the director said.
“Many people are producing the kits because it is a business. So you need very good evaluation mechanism,” he added.
He said less sensitive testing kits can be good to pick a positive result but may give a few false negative.
“So we repeat the tests or collect another sample in case the kits have low sensitivity,” the director added.
Last week, government received a donation of 20,081 testing kits from China based Alibaba Group, the Jack Ma foundation.
“Even the one we got from China (Alibaba Group) we did same evaluation. The Jack Ma kits are good and we are already using the items,” Kaleebu said.
The UVRI director said the institute has enough testing kits and human resource to serve Uganda.
He said it would be wastage of resources to start testing everyone.
“We don’t have issue with capacity. You don’t go into population and start testing everyone with cough and flu,” the director said.
“What we are doing is identify those at risk, those who have travelled in and their contacts and those who meet case definition. But if you do it the other way, you will be getting negative tests then you will need to do it every after 14 days and this would be wastage,” he added.
Prof Kaleebu said UVRI can do 500 tests in a day.
“We also have many laboratories in the country with machines that can run the tests. If the number of tests start overwhelming, we shall recruit other laboratories,” he added.
Source : DM