Seychelles Medical excels in PCR testing programme |27 December 2021
Seychelles Medical has announced that The College of American Pathologists (CAP), the leading organisation of board-certified pathologists in the United States has recognised Seychelles Medical in a PCR testing programme they conducted.
The College of American Pathologists serves patients, pathologists, and the public by fostering and advocating excellence in the practice of pathology and laboratory medicine worldwide and conducts testing programmes for PCR testing evaluations. Seychelles Medical laboratory received a 100% score in EQA SARS Cov-2 proficiency testing programme awarded by The College of American Pathologists.
Seychelles Medical Lab was internationally designed to conduct up to 30,000 PCR tests a day in a 4000 Sqft Lab with a combination of 14 PCR Analyzers, Amplifiers and negative pressure units all using state of the art technology. Within the laboratory the lab technicians work within bio safety cabinet units housed within 8 individual zones accessible only by bio metric security and monitored with offsite 24/7 CCTV. The lab has an entire team of internationally qualified lab technician that work on shifts 24/7 to ensure that visitors to the Seychelles receive their PCR test certificates on time and most importantly with total accuracy enabling them to fly home.
We spoke to Justin Etzin, the director of Seychelles Medical on the importance of having a fully equipped laboratory and international recognition following this USA 100% score evaluation.
“I’ve been asked why Seychelles Medical has such a large Lab in Seychelles that has the capacity to be able to test the whole of Seychelles in just a few days. The answer is simple, Seychelles is a five-star destination and deserves to have a world class testing facility that matches this reputation.
“Every visitor arriving in Seychelles needs the confidence to know that should they need a fit to fly certificate for their onward travels that they can get one easily at their hotel or any of Seychelles Medical clinics across the Seychelles and at the Airport in under 2 hours if required. It is imperative that the results are accurate and SMS are delighted that The College of American Pathologists has recognised the integrity of Seychelles Medical and we become the only laboratory in Seychelles to have such recognition.”
The major risk of PCR testing in Seychelles
An internationally qualified leading Analyst spoke about the importance of accurate Fit to Fly certification using RT-PCR Tests. The world health organisation encourages PCR testing for border security as a critical component to halt the spread of Covid-19. However if this testing is not done correctly the result is catastrophic.
Some of the small private clinics in Seychelles have all purchased a single PCR machine and are offering a PCR testing service to their patients. Testing their patients is incredibly important and while the results may not be totally accurate or suitable for international travel it is an important tool to help stop the spread of Covid-19 in Seychelles.
The concern however comes when these small private clinics offer to test large numbers of tourists with their single PCR machine. Raffles hotel in Praslin takes PCR samples from guests themselves and ships them to Mahé to be tested. The risk however is when an hotel tries to test their guests as cheaply as possible to increase profit they put their guests safety and travel at risk. By choosing a small private clinic who has not had to undergo the major investment to set up a lab and attempts to issue fit to fly certificates using one single PCR machine risks are obviously inherent. It is impossible for a single PCR machine to test hundreds of samples without the clinic taking short cuts or omitting testing all together.
If the same small private clinic is also testing all of its patients and at the same time is receiving hundreds of testing samples from other large hotels like Club Med in St Anne or Ephelia in Mahé as well as many other hotels all over Seychelles experts would ask how can this be done on one single PCR machine. The answer is it’s absolutely impossible.
It simply is not ethical for any clinic to submit a fit to fly certificate when a test has not been done correctly or in some cases not performed at all. For the test to be done correctly the clinic needs a laboratory and to be able to run verification checks against other PCR machines. This simply cannot be done with one PCR machine.
Hotels who subject travellers to use the small clinics with one PCR machine risk either the guests not receiving their test certificates or receiving a certificate that is rejected on arrival at their destinations border security for being non compliant or inaccurate.
It is international practice and was required by the Seychelles Ministry of Health for Labs when Seychelles Medical was awarded its license to have a separate entry and exit point and use negative pressure in their laboratory or risk cross contamination providing inaccurate results. However the small private clinics in Seychelles have not had this requirement and instead attempt to carry out testing in a small room at their clinic with one single PCR machine. The result is again a catastrophe for Seychelles waiting to happen.
Seychelles risk of red list with tourists using clinics with a single PCR machine.
PCR testing machines are incredibly sensitive and require constant calibration and servicing. Given that these small one PCR machine laboratories are not operated from a dedicated laboratory the question must arise of what would happen in the case of a PCR machine malfunction. The answer must be that the test cannot be performed perhaps for several weeks until a replacement machine is procured and then tested, calibrated and verified by the Ministry of Health. This would require inter-lab checks to ensure its accuracy which again takes time.
Quite a few countries like France and the UK are now testing passengers on arrival despite also requiring everyone to arrive with a negative certificate. It is only a matter of time that these algorithms in these countries will show that the certificates being issued in Seychelles are not reliable as positive cases appear. While it is possible to contract Covid in between taking your pre-departure test and arriving, if the pre-departure tests are not being done correctly and there is a large number of Covid cases coming from Seychelles, Seychelles will be deemed a risk country with invalid fit to fly certificates and put on that country’s red list.
It is therefore simply not ethical for a small private clinic to have one machine to be able to provide international fit to fly certification risking Seychelles to be put on Red Lists due to certificates not being reliable. This would once again destroy the tourism industry in Seychelles.
The only private lab in Seychelles that has multiple testing equipment, a fully compliant negative pressure laboratory with separate entrance and exits to the Lab with full bio safety cabinets and bio metric security and which is dedicated to only PCR testing and international evaluation is Seychelles Medical Private Testing.
The accompanying photos show staff at work at the Seychelles Medical Lab as well as the evaluation report from the College of American Pathologists.
Press release from Seychelles Medical