The Presidential Taskforce on Coronavirus has warned private hospitals and pharmacies against selling unapproved rapid antibody tests for COVID-19.

According to chairperson of the taskforce John Phuka, the Ministry of Health has received reports that some private hospitals and pharmacies are providing or selling rapid antibody tests for COVID-19 as a way of diagnosing COVID-19 disease.

He said the Ministry of Health discourages the use of rapid antibody tests as a diagnostic tool for COVID-19.

Phuka added that currently, in Malawi, there is no approved rapid antibody test for the diagnosis of COVID-19 in Malawi.

“Rapid antibody tests are used to detect past infection of the virus as opposed to molecular tests (PCR and GeneXpert technologies) that detect presence of coronavirus during the early and active phase of the infection,” said Phuka.

He, however, did not mention hospitals or pharmacies involved in the malpractice.

In Malawi there are 43 testing centres established by the government and the Ministry of Health has so far conducted 20,657 COVID-19 tests in 39 sites.

Malawi has recorded 2,364 cases including 38 deaths. Of these cases, 808 are imported infections and 1556 are locally transmitted. There have also been 557 recoveries.

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