According to KP’s Health Minister, Taimur Khan Jhagra, the province is going to start pool testing for COVID-19, increasing its testing capacity by 3 to 5 times.
The pool testing will be carried out at the Khyber Medical University (KMU), the minister said in a press briefing.
KMU, KP’s flagship coronavirus testing lab, has conducted 27 trials of pool testing. The results of the tests were 100% accurate. As a result, KMU is now mandated to perform pool tests.
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Pool testing involves taking swab samples from all individuals in a sample population and carrying out a combined test of them using the PCR procedure.
For instance, health officials have to take swab samples from a sample population of 200 individuals and test them for COVID-19.
In individual testing, officials must have to test 200 swab samples individually which consumes a lot of time and resources.
In pool testing, the population can be divided into 40 pools comprising each of 5 swab samples. Now, health authorities get to test each pool collectively rather than testing all 200 individuals.
If the result of a specific pool comes back negative, it means that the entire pool is free from the disease. However, if a specific pool tests positive, it means that this pool is infected. Now, all 5 people in this pool have to be tested individually for the disease.
The pool testing process is not only faster than individual testing but it also increases the overall testing capacity. Germany and other European states are carrying out pool testing which has increased their testing capacity manifold.