KPK introduces ‘Pilot-scale diagnostics’ for Covid-19

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will conduct pilot-scale testing for Covid-19 according to Health and Finance Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra KPK has increased the province’s capacity by three to five times.

Jhagra said that the Covid-19 testing laboratory at Khyber Medical University (KMU) is now authorized to conduct pilot-scale testing.

After successfully conducting 27 trials on pool testing, with 100pc congruence, the flagship KP coronavirus testing lab at KMU is now mandated to do pool tests suited for large groups with low prevalence rates theoretically increasing capacity to test by 3-5x,” said in a tweet.

Giving a breakdown of the total number of tests conducted in the province so far KP conducted 1,146 tests, its highest yet according to data available till April 23. KMU alone conducted a record 902 tests across three 24/7 shifts.

Used by Germany and other European countries, pool testing is carried out for population sampling in areas where there is low prevalence.

Under this theory, if you are conducting three, five, 10 tests, the results of which come back negative, then that [population] pool can be ruled out and 10 others can be declared negative.

However, if one of the cases comes back positive, you will have to retest all samples individually, he said.

There is an advantage [in using this method]: for example, a plane carrying 200 passengers had arrived from Dubai and one person had tested positive.

If you had carried out 40 [testing] pools, one pool would have tested positive. From this pool, you would have tested the five people again [to confirm their diagnosis] and you could have wrapped up 200 tests quicker.

He added that under the same theory, the people working at KMU conducted 27 trials on pool testing as well as individual tests to confirm the results.

All 27 of the trials had 100 percent congruence; their results matched those of individual tests. Therefore, KP has gone beyond the experimental phase and is going to implement this at scale.

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