Rapid antigen tests could be an easy, inexpensive, alternative to Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction tests
It has been six months since the first few Covid-19 cases were detected in the country. In this time, a sense of mental fatigue has taken over the public, and as a result, they are no longer willing to abide by the rules.
Everything seems to be normal on the streets. While shops, offices and courts are open, people are moving around without wearing masks and tend to violate social distancing rules. Both life and livelihood have to continue but if things go on as now, there is a high possibility of the risk of infection increasing.
At present, the infection rate seems to be going down but we need to observe a few more days to understand the trend.
More and more tests should be conducted to confirm the number of Covid-19 infections. Every day, 10,000-12,000 samples are tested, which is not enough from which to make a projection.
People are reluctant to get tested because it takes four to five days to receive a report and testing is not free anymore.
Rapid antigen tests could be an easy, inexpensive, alternative to Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) tests. Early diagnosis is possible through an antigen test, and since it costs less, as many as one lakh samples could be tested every day.
Quick results will also encourage people to take the tests. PCR tests might still continue for further confirmation if there is any suspicion over antigen test results.
Taking a decision to approve the antigen test is a government process, and the administration is taking its time, but I think the process should be expedited.
Dr ABM Abdullah, Honorary Fellow, Bangla Academy, and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Personal Physician