The Ministry of Health (MoH) has fixed the cost of COVID-19 tests provided by private health institutions.
In a circular issued by the ministry, the Director General of Private Health Establishments fixed the price of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test for COVID-19 and also for taking a swab for the test for all private sector health institutions.
‘In reference to our circular (24/2020), regarding the price of taking a swab for COVID-19 test in private health establishments, it should not cost more than RO5 for each sample, this does not include the price of lab testing,’ stated the circular.
It also noted that after the approval of the Minister of Health, the price of COVID-19 lab tests needed for medical reports for travel or suspected cases are fixed as follows:
Real Time PCR: RO 30
Point of Care PCR: RO45
Immunoassay antibodies: RO14.
The COVID-19 Real Time PCR test is a real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) test for the qualitative detection of nucleic acid from SARS-CoV-2 in upper and lower respiratory specimens (such as nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal swabs, sputum, lower respiratory tract aspirates, bronchoalveolar lavage, and nasopharyngeal wash/aspirate, nasal aspirate, nasal swabs, or mid-turbinate swabs) collected from individuals suspected of COVID-19 by their healthcare provider.
Point of Care PCR test involves a more rapid process and faster test results provided at or near the point of care – that is, at the time and place of patient care.
The antibody tests differ from the usual ‘swab’ type test, which tests to see if you currently have the disease. This test is designed to detect antibodies against the virus that causes COVID-19.
Antibodies are proteins produced by the immune system in response to an infection and are specific to that particular infection. They are found in the blood and so requires a sample to be taken from the arm, which will be tested for a type of antibody called immunoglobulin G (IgG).
This antibody develops in most patients at around two weeks after infection and remains in the blood after one has recovered. If this antibody is found in the blood, it indicates that one may have had COVID-19 in the recent past and has developed an immune response against the virus.