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South Africa has seen around 685 000 positive cases, and 17 248 deaths. It is now at a recovery rate of around 90% and the country has entered Level 1 regulations…

However, for travel purposes, or for general health awareness, many South Africans are seeking to be tested for Covid-19 antibodies.

While Dis-Chem offered a drive-through coronavirus PCR swab testing throughout the peak of the pandemic, the retailer is now offering drive-through Covid-19 antibody tests too.

No pre-registration needed

According to Lizeth Kruger, Dis-Chem’s National Clinic Manager, “The testing system is now running smoothly.”

While patients were initially required to pre-register for testing, this is not necessary any more. Anyone needing a Covid-19 or antibody test may visit a Dis-Chem clinic or drive-through centre and register on site.

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“We are rolling out Covid-19 antibody testing to indicate whether the patient had Covid-19 infection. And whether the patient has antibodies,” says Kruger.

Antibody tests cannot necessarily detect active cases of Covid-19. However, a positive antibody test result, conducted more than 14 days after symptoms, means that it is “very likely” that a patient has had Covid-19. It also means they have likely developed an immune response.

Antibody tests will also play an important role in providing data about coronavirus infections at a population level.

Kruger notes that “regardless of the test result, patients must continue to apply basic non-pharmaceutical interventions (hand hygiene, social distancing and wearing of masks).”

Patients will be assessed before testing

Prior to testing, patients will be thoroughly assessed by a qualified nursing practitioner to ensure that the antibody test is appropriate for each individual case and if the patient qualifies, a blood test will be performed.

Covid-19 swab tests still available

Alternatively, a conventional Covid-19 swab test will be available for anyone showing symptoms or for anyone who requires a test 72 hours prior to flying or before a medical procedure. “The drive through facilities will continue to cater for patients who have been in direct contact with Covid positive people or are currently symptomatic,” says Kruger.

How much does a Covid-19 antibody test cost?

Dis-Chem has partnered with Lancet Laboratories and has adapted its systems to accommodate this new offering. Kruger says Dis-Chem will monitor volumes closely and if demand is high, it may re-introduce the pre-registration requirement to avoid delays in delivering test results .

The antibody test (R380,00) and PCR swab test (R850) results will be made available by SMS and/or e-mail directly to the patient within 24 to 48 hours.

 

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While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.