ARTK not for Covid-19 diagnosis

by TMR/ pic by AFP

THE Antibody Rapid Test Kit (ARTK) offered in private clinics for Covid-19 screening cannot be used for diagnosis of the virus, said Health DG Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

Dr Noor Hisham said the ministry remains consistent that the Real-time Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (rRT-PCR) is the only test capable of detecting Covid-19 pathogens.

“The ARTK serology test — which requires a simple pin-prick procedure to draw a drop of blood from the finger — cannot be used for diagnosis because the presence of antibodies cannot confirm an active infection,” he said in his daily press briefing yesterday.

“A negative result from the test does not guarantee the sampled individual is not infected with Covid-19,” he added.

When asked to comment on the government’s decision to allow 20 visitors per home during Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration, Dr Noor Hisham said the number refers to family members, adding that the size of a place should be taken into consideration as well. The health DG also reminded the public to consider high risk groups who are more vulnerable to the virus infection.

“Make sure you protect the senior citizens — our parents and grandparents who are above 60. No handshakes, no kissing,” he said, adding that one must sanitise themselves before entering the house for visiting purpose.

Malaysia recorded another 70 new positive cases yesterday, where 31 of it involved non-Malaysians. Out of these 70 cases, 57 were from local transmission while the remaining 13 were imported.

Cumulative positive cases as of yesterday was 6,726 cases with 20 patients currently at the intensive care unit. One more death was reported, bringing the tally to 109.

The latest victim was a 63-year-old Malaysian man with a history of diabetes and liver cancer. He passed away at Kuala Lumpur Hospital.

Eighty-eight patients were discharged in the same 24-hour span, bringing the total number of recovered patients to 5,113.

The country’s Covid-19 recovery rate is now at 76% out of the total number of positive cases.