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A&B is Days Away From Being Able to Test for Covid Variants – CMO


(Antigua Observer) The ability to test for Covid variants in Antigua and Barbuda – rather than send samples to Trinidad for analysis – is set to become a reality within days.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Rhonda Sealey-Thomas says work is underway to increase the capabilities of the laboratory at the Sir Lester Bird Mount St John’s Medical Centre to handle the tests.

“By the end of [this] week – certainly by the following Monday – we should be able to test for variants right here,” she told state media over the weekend.

Up to now, the country has been relying on expertise from the Caribbean Public Health Agency in Port of Spain, and the University of the West Indies to identify mutations of the virus.

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, four variants of concern have emerged. These are often more transmissible than the form of the virus that was first discovered in 2019.

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