16:15 05.01.2021

Decline in PCR testing for COVID-19 can be explained by launch of antigen tests, this doesn't affect decline in incidence – KSE

3 min read
Decline in PCR testing for COVID-19 can be explained by launch of antigen tests, this doesn't affect decline in incidence – KSE

The decrease in the volume of PCR testing for COVID-19 can be explained by the launch of antigen tests, however, the decrease in the number of tests does not affect the incidence rate, experts from the Kyiv School of Economics (KSE) say.

Head of key projects of KSE Yuriy Hanichenko, during the weekly briefing of KSE, in particular, drew attention to the fact that at the end of 2020 there was a decrease in the number of PCR tests.

"This decline is partly explained by the fact that a new approach to testing has been adopted since mid-December and persons suspected of COVID-19 have been allowed not to duplicate these results with a PCR test based on the antigen test results," he said.

At the same time, Hanichenko emphasized that the decrease in the number of PCR tests can also be explained by the fact that "they began to send less people for testing," but at present there is no evidence of the influence of this factor.

At the same time, he noted that since December 9, the number of detected cases has been "on a kind of plateau of 10,000-12,000 cases."

"We can say that there has been no significant change in the incidence since December, despite the fact that the number of detected cases has decreased in the official statistics," he said.

In turn, head of the KSE Center for Health Economics, former Deputy Minister of Health Pavlo Kovtoniuk noted that at present "the nature of this plateau has not been fully studied."

"It is very important to avoid the illusion that some indicators and measures influenced something. From November to January, the measures taken lived their lives, and the statistics - their own. The reason for this is the extremely low detection and the fact that we test extremely low number of people. We see only a small part of reality through our testing system, it only concerns very sick people," he said.

Commenting on the advisability of introducing quarantine from January 8, Kovtoniuk noted that "quarantine is an emergency measure, it is very strange to plan an emergency measure, the decision to postpone quarantine looked strange."

"It is very difficult to say whether quarantine is needed now, because the logic of such a decision is difficult to understand from the point of view of pandemic control, while there is no increase in the incidence in Ukraine, and we see that there is no growth," he said.

 

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