A medical personnel wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) holds a testing swab for COVID-19 at a drive-thru testing site. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Dubai: The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has clarified that it follows the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, the only type of test currently approved by international and local authorities to confirm the diagnosis of COVID-19. The PCR test is used to detect the presence of viral RNA in a test sample, through a nasal swab, and a person is considered sick if this type of RNA is detected.

DHA pointed out that there is a second type of testing, the rapid antibody test, which aims to detect antibodies against the virus causing COVID-19. These antibodies are produced by the immune system several days after infection with the virus and may therefore indicate a previous infection.

DHA explained that the rapid antibody testing has not been universally adopted as a diagnostic method until now. It further said the World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended limiting the use of rapid testing to epidemiological monitoring in surveys, research and epidemiological studies.

The Authority confirmed that its diagnostic procedures for COVID-19 are in line with the procedures of the country’s health authorities.

It called on all members of the community to rely only on official and reliable sources for COVID-19 related information and not pay heed to scientifically inaccurate rumours and information circulating on social media. The Authority’s staff are closely following global developments on COVID-19, including testing protocols for the disease and the development of effective vaccines for the virus, in order to provide the best diagnosis and healthcare for citizens and residents.