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SA testing strategy needs to be geared up to save lives - Prof Shabir Madhi

18 May 2020 1:19 PM

The professor says the current testing strategy can only work if people get their COVID-19 results between 12 and 24 hours.

In an effort to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, the South African government has been on a massive testing drive.

Over 460,000 people have been tested so far as over 10,000 health professionals have been sent out to communities to screen and test people.

How effective is the testing drive in the fight against COVID-19?

RELATED:There are no additional benefits of keeping a lockdown - Dr Glenda Gray

Medical professors Marc Mendelson and Shabir Madhi who argue that the country has entered a new phase in which the testing strategy needs to be geared up to save lives.

The pair have published an academic editorial with the South African Medical Journal.

Madhi joins Clement Manyathela on the Midday Report and says the current testing strategy only works if the turnaround time of the results is 12 to 24 hours.

A person is most infectious three days before they display symptoms until five to seven days after onset of symptoms.

Shabir Madhi, Vaccinology professor - Wits University

In South Africa, the ability to test 36,000 people within a 24-hour period has not materialised.

There is a huge backlog in terms of testing so much so that it is taking between five to 14 days for results to come back. By the time the person is screened that person is probably no longer infectious. Government needs to prioritise other strategies to identify infectious cases in the community.

Shabir Madhi, Vaccinology professor - Wits University

Listen below to the full conversation:




18 May 2020 1:19 PM

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