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DPR recommends Antigen Rapid Diagnostic Tests for offshore workers over Covid-19

A researcher at Protein Sciences moves a vial in a lab, Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Meriden, Conn. The biotech company is currently researching a vaccine for COVID-19. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)


Chinazor MegboluThe Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has recommended the use of Antigen Rapid Diagnostic Tests (Ag-RDTs) for offshore workers in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector over Covid-19 pandemic.

The oil and gas regulator stated this in a circular to the oil and gas industry operators and all industry service providers on the management of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The circular also reported that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had granted Emergency Use Authorisation for two Ag-RDTs, that were SD Biosensor and Abbott with above 80 per cent sensitivity and above 97 per cent specificity.
The circular, further showed that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has subsequently approved their use in the country as contained in the guidance for the use of approved Covid-19 Ag-RDTs released in January, 2021.
According to the circular; ”consequently, the DPR is by this circular, advising operators and service providers to commence the use of these approved Ag-RDTs.
“This is with the aim of addressing the cost implications and psychological impacts on staff due to the current practice of mandatory seven to 10 days isolation to and from offshore/remote locations.
“Ag-RDTs can typically be conducted within a short turnaround time of 10 to 30 minutes by medical personnel with the requisite training.
“All Ag-RDTs positive results should be interpreted as positive results; counselling, isolation, and national case management guidelines should be adhered to.
“For an asymptomatic case or a high-risk contact who tests negative on Ag-RDT, a Polymerase Chain Reaction confirmation test becomes mandatory to rule out Covid-19”.
The circular stated further that all operators and service providers are to comply with the NCDC guidelines in the use of Covid-19 testing self-reporting case investigation form.
It, however, directed them to submit monthly returns of summary of test results to the DPR for the monitoring of industry performance in this regard.
 “Whilst hoping for the imminent end of this global pandemic and early return to normal operations, please be rest assured that DPR will continue to support your business and facilitate continuity of operations in overriding national interest,”  the circular said

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