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COVID-19 PCR TESTING: J’pura Uni lab pulls out

DGHS dismisses allegation of wrongly labelling test results

BY SKANDHA GUNASEKARA

Disappointed about the Government dismissing their positive Covid-19 test results as false positives, the University of Sri Jayewardenepura Dengue Research Centre has decided to discontinue PCR testing on behalf of the Government, while the Government noted that the reason it ended the collaboration was that the State is now in possession of sufficient facilities to conduct all PCR tests.

The University of Jayewardenepura’s reasons for the discontinuation of testing were revealed to The Sunday Morning by an University official on Friday (10).

A key reason for its withdrawal was allegedly due to the fact that the authorities had intentionally overlooked positive Covid-19 test results from tests carried out by the University’s Dengue Research Centre, which began conducting real-time PCR testing for the Health Ministry during the Covid-19 curfew.

“We are disappointed with the recent efforts by the Ministry of Health to ignore the positive cases reported by us when we have confirmed it with 100% accuracy,” sources alleged.

There have been many instances where positive test results from the Sri Jayewardenepura University were later identified as false positives with the individuals being retested and those tests coming out negative, most notably in the Jinthupitiya incident. Therefore, the “false positives” are not added to the number of total cases in Sri Lanka.

Additionally, sources noted the Ministry of Health now having adequate new facilities to conduct the required number of tests as another reason for its withdrawal.

“As the Government has established more labs, it now has the ability to conduct the necessary amount of daily tests.”

When contacted for comment, Director General of Health Services (DGHS) Dr. Anil Jasinghe confirmed the ending of the partnership but attributed it purely to the recently enhanced testing capacity of the Ministry of Health.

“The Jayewardenepura lab decided to stop testing for us and we have ample testing labs to do our own tests. But if needed, they will support us as before,” Dr. Jasinghe said.

However, when asked specifically and repeatedly about the laboratory’s concerns over the Ministry’s disregard for its test results, Dr. Jasinghe said that any and all tests that were discounted were false positives.

“Yes, there were some that we did not add to the official daily count. They were false positives. You should speak to a virologist for an explanation about how that can happen,” Dr. Jasinghe said. He denied that the Ministry had been labelling accurate tests as false positives.