You can now get tested for coronavirus at a lab, but it'll cost you

The lab will collect epidemiological information on all test subjects to share with the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD).

Blood test samples. Picture:

JOHANNESBURG - Lancet Laboratories said it has made lab testing for coronavirus available to the public as from Monday.

CapeTalk's Refilwe Moloto interviewed Professor Eftyhia Vardas, a clinical virologist at Lancet Laboratories.

"We have a screening procedure. We’re going to ask you questions about where you’ve been and what you’ve done… Use common sense. If you had contact today with somebody coughing and spluttering it doesn’t mean that this test will pick up the virus. Five days later, it might. If you had contact today and demanded a test, it’s not going to be helpful. If you had contact with somebody who is ill and has been somewhere [severely affected by COVID-19] … that’s when you should come and see us."

Testing for now, even in private labs, will be prioritised for individuals that fulfil epidemiological and clinical case definitions. Lancet has since this interview clarified that these tests would be done privately only if the patient is referred to by a medical professional. They also stated that the cost would be R1,400 in cash, but that medical aids could charge a different amount, depending on the company chosen.

Doctors and patients are urged to contact the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) directly on their hotline if they want testing to be done at the institute.

If doctors want their patient to be tested at Lancet Laboratories, and there is any uncertainty that the patient meets clinical and epidemiological criteria, the Lancet virologist on call on may be contacted.

Listen to the audio below for more.