Brac will start antigen-based Covid-19 rapid testing for suspected patients from Saturday (April 24, 2021) to provide results in a shorter time amid a new surge in Covid-19 cases across the country.
The service, set to be run under the supervision of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), will be available at 16 testing booths – 15 in Dhaka and one in Chattagram – set up by Brac.
The testing facility will gradually be expanded to Brac's 32 testing booths in Dhaka and four in Chattogram.
Brac is adding rapid antigen testing to its existing facility of collecting samples for Covid-19 reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests.
The booths are open from 9am to 12noon from Saturday to Thursday. Each of the booths can collect and analyse 150 samples a day.
For the detection of Covid-19, the RT-PCR test is being widely used in Bangladesh now, which takes at least 24 hours or more to get the results. But, an antigen test will deliver the result within 30 minutes, which will add pace to the government's Covid-19 testing, Brac said.
To support the DGHS, the organisation is operating 41 walk-in sample collection booths across the country.
Morsheda Chowdhury, director of Brac Health, Nutrition and Population Program, said: "To tackle the second wave of Covid-19, there is no alternative to maintain health advisories, along with testing suspects and referring them for isolation."
Who and how to get the service
Anyone who has been referred by a registered physician, experiencing Covid-19 symptoms, or has been in contact with a confirmed Covid-19 patient, is eligible to undergo the test through Brac operated booths.
Based on symptoms and case history, the organisation's staff will decide whether a person needs an antigen test or RT-PCR test. However, if someone tests negative in an antigen test despite having symptoms, their samples will be tested again through RT-PCR test.
People will have to apply online to get the service at the Brac booths.