Authorities will only be able to identify the rate of Covid-19 transmission in the Maldives through antibody testing, revealed the Health Emergency Operations Center (HEOC).
Speaking to press on Saturday night, the center’s spokesperson Dr. Nazla Rafeeq stated that they will only be able to pinpoint an exact number of coronavirus cases in the country once antibody tests are conducted.
She noted that preparations are underway to conduct antibody testing, after which a survey will indicate an exact number. She added that the protocols for the immunity study have been approved.
Further noting that they had planned to carry out testing in two phases including PCR testing and antibody testing, Nazla revealed that they faced challenges in carrying out the program due to a surge in Covid-19 cases recently. This led to healthcare workers halting the antibody testing program and focusing more on active surveillance.
The authorities are currently fully prepared for the study, in reference to the protocols established by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The antibody testing will be conducted in collaboration with the Maldives National University and they will be testing a select few for testing, through a draw.
WHO’s methodology will be followed in the program and the survey to identify seroprevalence individuals will be divided into four age groups. These include under 17-years of age, those aged between 18 – 34, the 35 – 59 age group and those over 60-years of age.
Currently, authorities are carrying out testing for the age group under 17.
Speaking to press earlier, Consultant at the Health Protection Agency (HPA), Dr. Sheena Moosa revealed that discussions to carry out antibody testing were held to identify those in the community immune to the virus.
Antibody testing was also conducted by ADK Hospital earlier. They discovered antibodies from 125 frontline workers out of the 3,004 tests conducted.