LANCET CLINICAL LABORATORIES would like to provide the public with further clarity regarding Covid19 PCR Test Results.
Efforts to contain Covid19 have been complicated by the emergence of three new strains from Brazil,
United Kingdom and South Africa. These new strains not only spread faster but are also more difficult
to detect because of mutations (changes in the genetic structure of the virus).
It is now recognised that laboratories using equipment and test kits that have not been upgraded to
target these new strains, may not be able to detect the virus in samples from infected individuals,
resulting in the issuing of false negative reports
(1). Lancet Clinical Laboratories uses the latest
machines and test kits which have currently been confirmed, through in-silico analysis of the genetic
sequences, to detect all three new strains of Covid19 and show true positive results (2). It is therefore
likely that persons who test Covid19 positive at Lancet may test negative at another laboratory using a
The public is reminded that a high proportion of infected individuals, particularly the young, may test
positive for Covid19 and have no physiological symptoms. These individuals may remain asymptomatic
or may be presymptomatic when the test is taken. Both pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic people
may still spread Covid19 and can infect others. It is therefore essential to take precautions, isolate, seek
medical advice, avoid the vulnerable and inform loved ones of Covid19 status until recovered and no
We understand that these are trying times that are present globally and for our country, however, we
believe that by maintaining our standards of testing as well as improving public engagement to
enlighten and empower the public, we will support public health and safety in Zimbabwe.