Laos has now authorized the use of rapid Covid-19 tests which were previously prohibited.
Dr. Phonepadith Sangxayalath, Director General of the National Centre for Laboratory and Epidemiology, under the Ministry of Health, made the statement during an announcement by the National Taskforce today.
Dr. Phonepadith said that many countries around the world have authorized the use of rapid tests, while Laos had not yet authorized their use due to several proven limitations.
However, the large numbers of cases now being recorded in Laos have placed a strain on laboratory workers, and therefore there is now a strategy in place for the use of rapid tests.
“There are many benefits to the use of rapid test kits, such as being able to see results within 15 to 20 minutes without utilizing a laboratory. Secondly, these kits are easy to use,” said Dr. Phonepadith.
“However, we must be aware of the limitations of rapid tests, such as unclear test results, and the fact that the test must be undertaken in an environment with a temperature of 30 degrees Celsius or lower; if people test in the heat it will not produce reliable results.”
He also mentioned that proper disposal of medical waste was a big issue, and users of rapid tests must understand how to properly dispose of the kits to prevent the further spread of the virus.
Dr. Phonepadith said that Laos will allow the use of rapid tests that are approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), and can be found under the WHO’s Emergency Use List.
He said that even when these test results produce a negative result, there is still a chance that they may be infected, and a PCR test will often be required in many cases.