NAKURU, Kenya – Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has put Pathologists Lancet Kenya on the spot for conducting coronavirus testing services which produce unclear results.
This comes after 17 teaching staff of St Andrew’s School Turi, were tested for COVID-19 at Lancet laboratories and declared positive for the virus only to be told they were COVID-free after their samples were taken to the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri).
Speaking in Nakuru on Thursday, July 16, Health CS Kagwe said he had directed the medical board to immediately begin a probe on laboratories producing unclear results.
“It is true that there is one lab, specifically Lancet that carried out these tests that eventually turned from positive to negative. It is also the same lab that had also tested a group of people in Nairobi that also had the same circumstance,” CS Kagwe said.
“The ministry is going to take its measures… We have asked our board to review that particular laboratory. However, if you have been hearing that a lab has this unclear results, don’t go there. Why are you going to a lab that you know has been giving information that may not be clear?” he asked.
The lab’s Managing Director Dr. Ahmed Kaleb, however, defended the tests stating their equipment was very sensitive to even the smallest traces of the virus.
Kalebi urged those who turned positive at Lancet but later test negative elsewhere should not ignore the Lancet results.
“Actually, there have been cases of people disputing our positive results, getting tested elsewhere as negative then ignoring our result, only for them or their relatives, close contacts to end up very sick a few days later – some have even ended up in ICU or died,” he said.
Lancet Kenya has on several occasions been put on the spot for issuing conflicting COVID-19 test results with members of public demanding action from the government.
“As a government, we have a responsibility to check all the labs. After investigations…if it emerges a lab is not in conformity with regulations, then we will definitely close them down,” Kagwe said.
Relatedly, he said that some 421 more people had tested positive for coronavirus pushing the country’s count of the disease to 11,637 from 11,252 recorded on Wednesday, July 15.
According to the health CS, a record 570 COVID-19 patients had also been cleared after recovery from COVID-19, the highest on a single day.
He revealed that 512 of the patients who recovered had undergone home-based care while 58 received treatment from various hospitals.
However, the CS said that eight more patients had died from the disease rising the death toll from 209 to 217.