The newly rolled out Abbott’s Panbio™ COVID-19 Ag Rapid Test is set to help increase and expand access to testing services in rural areas across Malawi.
The Malawi government has recently procured the new test kits towards improving testing locally.
The Panbio tester is faster and produces results in 15 minutes. It will complement existing Covid-19 testing equipment and method, but will help speed up production of results at point-of-care.
Head of National Laboratory Services in the Ministry of Health Joseph Bilitinyu says the Panbio is a collaboration aiming to scale up Covid-19 testing, which is limited to centralised health institutions in the country’s 4 major cities.
“This will enable us penetrate hard-to-reach areas where Covid-19 tests have never been conducted,” Bilitinyu has told Capital FM.
In a statement, Abbott said its tester kit and the accompanying Sympheos system has since November 2020 been deployed in district hospitals Mwanza, Karonga, Mchinji and Ndirande Health Centre in Blantyre.
The Sympheos™ System is defined as an innovative suite of connected online tools that gives a real-time view of healthcare programmes, allowing one to manage and implement decentralized tools for COVID-19, HIV, and other diseases.
Abbott said following the roll- out, implementation of the new tester would be scaled up to more than 200 sites and communities in Malawi.
According to the firm, the Malawi government, through the Ministry of Health would determine which areas to receive the new test service.
Abbott further touts the WHO-approved Rapid Test Device as a reliable and affordable tool for healthcare professionals in the detection of active coronavirus infections at massive scale, saying it delivers test results in as early as 15 minutes with no instrumentation and using proven lateral flow technology.
“Rapid antigen tests can enable frequent COVID-19 testing at mass scale so that those who are infected can be identified quickly and to help slow the spread of virus. Abbott has leveraged its leadership in infectious diseases to create a powerful tool that makes large-scale testing fast, affordable and accessible and is working with local authorities to bring this test to Malawi,” said Bassem Bibi, Abbott’s Vice President and General Manager of Africa, responsible for Rapid Diagnostics.
The Corona Virus Pandemic has killed 187 people in Malawi, the latest death occurring on Sunday in Lilongwe. Malawi had over 6,070 confirmed cases as of December 15, 2020.