Covid test nod for private lab in Bahrain

Thyrocare is the only one to have been granted a licence

  

A private health laboratory in the country has been licensed to conduct tests for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

Thyrocare Gulf Laboratories has been certified by the National Health Regulatory Authority (NHRA) to carry out the RT-PCR tests from yesterday.

The real-time reverse transcription – polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) is a nuclear-derived method to detect the presence of specific genetic material from any pathogen, including a virus. This is the only test for Covid-19 approved by Bahrain’s Health Ministry.

According to Thyrocare Gulf Laboratories managing director Akshay Jain, this will ease the burden on Bahrain’s public health laboratory while also expediting results for the people, including those with travel plans.

“There are new requirements and there is demand, with countries like the UAE opening up and there are stipulations that travellers need to test negative for Covid-19 prior to travel, say 72 to 96 hours,” he told the GDN.

“This could help them get exempted from institutional quarantine.

“So, by opening up labs to do more testing, it is not only lessening the burden on the public lab and private hospitals alongside the general public, but also helping a lot of people who have to travel.

“We are hearing of the opening of the King Fahad Causeway in the coming days and there is a likelihood that screening might be needed.”

The GDN had reported on June 1 that Saudi Asharq Al Awsat newspaper said the causeway, which has remained closed for passenger traffic since March, could be opened on July 27.

“We are looking at all options and are ready to cater.”

Swabs

Currently, the Health Ministry provides 200 swabs per week to the nine NHRA-approved private centres in the country: Ibn Al Nafees Hospital, Al Kindi Hospital, Royal Bahrain Hospital, Bahrain Specialist Hospital, Al Salam Specialist Hospital, American Mission Hospital, Dr Tariq Hospital, Noor Specialist Hospital and Awali Hospital.

However, these hospitals can offer the service only to the regular public who are asymptomatic and for whom the conditions of public testing do not apply.

“We got the approval on Wednesday,” said Mr Jain.

“All the private hospitals which have been approved by the NHRA to take swabs can now send the samples to us for testing.”

Three private labs were reportedly awaiting licensing following provisional approval by the NHRA.

However, as of now Thyrocare is the only one to have been granted a licence.

“We deal with the hospitals and not with the end customers and our rates are comparable and competitive with that of the ministry’s public health laboratory,” said Mr Jain.

Currently, hospitals which charge up to BD50 for Covid-19 tests send the swabs to the ministry’s lab and results are given after 24 hours.

raji@gdn.com.bh

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