Coronavirus illustration. Photo: iStockphoto

KUCHING: The state government is sticking to the Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) swab test for the time being to test individuals for Covid-19.

Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian said the rapid test kit (RTK), which tests a person blood for antibodies, should not be confused with the PCR test.

“A lot of people confused with the other test, rapid blood kits which is a 15-minute test. It is a blood test looking for your antibodies, initially IgM (Immunoglobulin M) and later IgG (Immunoglobulin G).

“If the blood test is positive, it means you have been infected and your body has antibodies to fight the virus.

“There are indications for both type of tests and there is a need to know when to test and the specificity and sensitivity of each tests,” he wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday night, adding that it was not time for medical entrepreneurship.

Following the pandemic, medical companies around the globe has announced their own rapid test kits for purchase by the public to conduct swift Covid-19 tests.

This, however, was disputed by the nation’s Health Ministry, stressing that while RTK tests for antibodies, it cannot help in the early detection of the coronavirus as these antibodies only appear around the fifth or eighth day of infection.

“RTKs that trace the antibodies cannot detect the virus for rapid confirmation of infection. So, it can’t be used to help in the early detection of Covid-19.

“Therefore, RTKs that trace antibodies are not recommended for the purpose of Covid-19 diagnosis,” MoH director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a statement on March 24, adding that self-examination using RTK was ill-advised.