The visiting Chinese anti-Covid-19 medical delegation has given the thumbs up to Zimbabwe’s National Microbiology Reference Laboratory in Harare.
Chinese laboratory scientist Dr Zhang Di said the facility was at par with the laboratory he works for back in China.
“I am very impressed with the equipment and the arrangement of this laboratory, I think it is excellent and compared to our national laboratory, it is almost the same, there is no difference,” said Dr Zhang.
“Even the scientists are very professional and they are knowledgeable about conducting the confirmatory tests. I have no doubt therefore that this laboratory has the capacity to conduct Covid-19 suspected cases,” said Dr Zhang.
Dr Zhang who also visited Beatrice Road Infectious Disease Hospital and Chinhoyi Provincial laboratory said since most of the laboratories where still undergoing refurbishments, he made specific recommendations to concerned facilities.
Commenting on the use of rapid diagnostic testing (RDT), Dr Zhang said since its ability to pick the virus was low, it was important to use it only for screening purposes.
Dr Zhang said even China was using RDTs for screening purposes and all positive cases would be referred for a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) confirmatory test using more effective tests.
“In China, RDT is also widely used, but for screening purposes and those who test positive would be referred for PCR for confirmation. In fact, if we can directly send all samples to PCR that would be good, however, we need to balance between the cost of conducting PCR and available resources.”