The Ministry of Public Health has updated its COVID-19 testing protocol and approved antibody and antigen tests to be performed in the private healthcare sector.
The latest COVID-19 testing protocol means that approved private healthcare centers are now authorized to perform two new tests – rapid antigen testing and antibody testing – in addition to the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing that the private sector has been performing through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rapid antigen testing offers a fast and reasonably accurate screening test to detect COVID-19 virus antigens in the individual. The test can be used for a range of uses including triaging patients with respiratory symptoms presenting to clinics, prior to preforming minor procedures and prior to hospital admission for minor procedures.
Rapid antigen testing requires a nasal swab to be taken from the individual and the results are usually available within 15 minutes.
Rapid antigen testing can be performed by only trained nurses, physicians, or other healthcare providers in approved healthcare facilities that can assure the quality of test performance.
Antibody testing has also been approved to be offered in the private healthcare facilities and are designed to demonstrate immunity against COVID-19 as a result of a previous infection or vaccination. These tests can be done in private healthcare facilities by trained nurses, physicians, or other healthcare providers.
There are two types of the antibody test; the rapid test where a drop of blood (capillary blood collected from a finger prick sample) is placed on small testing kit and where the result is obtained typically in 15 minutes, and a more elaborate test that requires blood sample to be collected and sent to HMC main laboratory for serology.
The introduction of these two new testing procedures to the private healthcare facilities further strengthens the healthcare sector’s COVID-19 test strategy and increases access to COVID-19 tests for people in Qatar.
Source: Ministry of Public Health.