New disease test kit promises monetary and time savings

Veredus Laboratories' microchip that tests for several mosquito-borne diseases is worth further scrutiny ("Kit can test for seven diseases with a drop of blood"; Wednesday).

At about $100 per kit, it offers a great cost advantage over current testing methods. With the results known within three hours, much time and inconvenience can be saved too.

Currently, sending urine specimens to Tan Tock Seng Hospital or Singapore General Hospital, via private third-party laboratories, has a turnover time of almost three days.

Private patients must pay $150 for either urine or blood confirmation for Zika. The cost shoots up significantly with the addition of the serological test for dengue. This is even before consultation and administration fees are included.

If Veredus Laboratories' test kit has been stringently verified by the Health Sciences Authority, and the assay process involved is not too technically convoluted, then it should be expeditiously distributed to clinics, starting with those located within Zika and dengue clusters.

Positive tests must be reported, to make identifying further clusters and the spread of the diseases more effective and timely, but without the need for central testing centres.

We will not only be supporting a local product of some worth, but also reaping immense monetary and time savings.

Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 09, 2016, with the headline 'New disease test kit promises monetary and time savings'. Print Edition | Subscribe