Speed up process of testing for Zika

I am perplexed as to why Ms Leianne Tan and other patients had to endure an 11-hour wait for the results of the Zika test ("After 11-hour wait, relief as actress tests negative"; last Saturday).

Is it because there are many patients doing the test and the medical staff are overwhelmed? Or is the current test method too time-consuming?

Last Thursday, it was reported that scientists at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research had invented a kit that could test for the dengue, chikungunya and Zika viruses in just two hours ("Made-in-S'pore kit can test for three viruses in two hours").

Rather than wait for the World Health Organisation to test and approve the kit, which could take months or years, our Government, health authorities, researchers and pharmaceutical sector should collaborate and "fast-track" production of the kit for use by the local populace.

Only if an individual tests positive with the kit would he be required to undergo a more comprehensive examination.

This would save many precious man-hours for both patients and medical professionals.

Sim Eng Cheong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 06, 2016, with the headline 'Speed up process of testing for Zika'. Print Edition | Subscribe