Government and officials of the Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research have clashed over the processes and charges for the testing of passengers who will be arriving at the Kotoka International Airport as it reopens today.
Antigen tests are immunoassays that detect the presence of a specific viral antigen, which implies current viral infection.
Government has indicated that each passenger will pay a $150 fee as the cost of the Covid-19 test. This move has also been challenged by the lead virologist at the institute.
Speaking on JoyNews, Dr Kofi Bonney revealed that about half of the antigen test to be conducted at the airport may be inaccurate.
“Scientifically with the PCR test, within 72 hours, it’s enough. I don’t know why we have to do an antigen test which is less sensitive upon arrival. If we look at the tests that have been done over the years, we have a varying sensitivity percentage between 34% to around 80%.
“So if you are looking at these figures that means about half of the people who will take anti-gen tests, the results may not be correct,” he said.
On the $150 fee to be born by passengers, Dr Bonney said the prices should averagely cost “between $10 to about $20.”
He believes the $150 charge may have been arrived at following the consideration of administrative cost among other auxiliary items associated with the test.
“Maybe so many other things come into play… I’m sure they are charging administrative and other personal protective equipment and all that,” Dr Bonney explained.
Speaking on PM Express September 1, Aviation Minister says the data that informed government’s decision on the cost came from the Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research.
“All these numbers came from Noguchi experts advising us on what to do.
Describing the prices as bearable, Joseph Kofi Addah insisted that the $150 charge will not be reviewed despite the opposition.
“To be very frank with you, its already been decided and I’m not here to debate on the policy anyway,” he said.