Lancet’s corona test at Sh13,000


Face masks being made at a workshop in northern Spain. PHOTO | AFP

Pathologists Lancet Kenya are offering coronavirus testing at Sh13,000 through a drive-through model at some of their laboratories.

Lancet Kenya said they will assign lab personnel to collect test samples from those being tested in their cars without having them enter the laboratory.

“We’ve introduced drive-through sample collection for Covid-19 test at our main lab in Upper Hill Nairobi and at some of our selected branch labs countrywide, where our lab personnel are trained and equipped to take the samples,” said Lancet Kenya.

“The drive-through sampling is offered at main lab in Upper Hill, Parklands Branch and Mombasa main branch in Biashara Building. Other branches to roll out in due course as personnel get trained on collection,” said the firm.

The samples are collected using nasal and oral (throat) swabs, and sent to South Africa for the testing.

Lancet East Africa CEO Dr Ahmed Kalebi in a Twitter post however said the firm is in the process of setting up a localised testing mechanism at the Nairobi main lab, which will help cut the cost of Sh13,000 considerably.

“We are at an advanced stage of setting up the test in our main lab in Nairobi — just waiting for the kits to arrive anytime end of this week, and will be rolling out local testing with capacity to scale-up. When we start local testing the cost will come down by almost half,” said Dr Kalebi.

“Initially (2 weeks ago), the cost for Covid-19 PCR test sent to our reference lab in South Africa was Sh17,000, then last week that came down to Sh13,000 for individual patients request while hospital clients get a discount.”

The results of the tests will be released within three to six days depending on the workload in the laboratory and prioritisation of the cases, Lancet added.

The highest priority will be given to hospitalised patients, high-risk patients (elderly and immunosuppressed) and indexed cases in a defined closed community.

The test is recommended for those with symptoms of acute respiratory illness with sudden onset of either a new cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, fever and have travelled to an area where there is COVID-19 transmission.

Those who have been in close contact with a confirmed or probable case covid-19, or worked in or attended a healthcare facility where patients are being treated or admitted to hospital with severe pneumonia should also get tested.