The capacity in laboratories to conduct the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests has almost exceeded and therefore, a system called Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) would be introduced soon, Health Ministry Deputy Director General (Laboratory Services) Dr. Ananda Jayalal said yesterday.
Addressing a news briefing, he said with the introduction of the new testing system, results could be delivered in 15 minutes and added it required no big machines unlike those used for PCR testing.
“For PCR tests, we have to use expensive machines but the new system would not cost as much as the PCR tests,” Dr. Jayalal said.
“We are planning to import the necessary equipment for this new system, which would ease the testing method. This new system has been endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO),” Dr. Jayalal added.
However, he said it would take time to bring them to Sri Lanka and carry out testing because they had to provide training to the lab techs.
Meanwhile, he said there could be a delay in delivering results of PCR tests currently owing to the high demands at laboratories.
“Now there are 22 laboratories under the Health Ministry that conduct PCR tests. Apart from this, PCR tests are carried out by several universities and laboratories attached to the private sector,” he said. (Sheain Fernandopulle)