Tag: clicks

Clicks launches rapid Covid antibody testing

Source: Supermarket & Retailer 

Unlike many other antibody tests currently on the market, these rapid tests do not require blood to be sent to a laboratory for analysis. Instead, much like an HIV finger-prick test, they can produce a result in 15 minutes, and don’t require a visit to a doctor’s office.

Several companies who have received licences to import and distribute these tests in South Africa are pinning their hopes on consumers being curious about the possibility of having unknowingly contracted the virus – but not so curious that they’re willing to visit a doctor, part with a vial of blood, and wait up to two days for the results.

Unlike the widely-used reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, or PCR tests, however, these rapid antibody tests won’t tell you if you have an active case of coronavirus.

“This is not a Covid-19 test. The test is aimed at anyone who suspects they may have contracted the virus, even though they did not show symptoms,” Rachel Wrigglesworth, Clicks chief commercial officer, told Business Insider South Africa.

Instead, Wrigglesworth says the test is aimed at “consumers [who] are wanting to determine whether they have built up any Covid-19 antibodies”.

There are two main types of antibody tests approved for use by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) – one that requires a vial of blood for processing in a laboratory, and another that delivers results at its point of testing from a drop of blood extracted from a fingertip.

Competing pharmacy group Dis-Chem has opted for the laboratory route, via a partnership with Lancet Laboratories. These tests will produce results within 24 to 48 hours, and cost R380 – nearly double that of the test available at Clicks.

However, central to the argument between the two types of tests is their sensitivity.

Those processing antibody tests in labs argue that they produce results that are more accurate than rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs). South Africa’s Department of Health says that RDTs, like the kind used by Clicks, “generally have lower sensitivities than laboratory-based antibody tests”.

But Clicks’ Wrigglesworth says the test they will be using has 97% accuracy, and was approved by SAHPRA.

The most prominent rapid antibody test available in South Africa is the Orient Gene Covid-19 rapid test kit, imported from China. The first licence to distribute this product was awarded to Johannesburg-based Tip Top Trade, but there are now at least 17 companies officially approved by SAHPRA to distribute these test kits in South Africa.

An early study by the United States’ National Institutes of Health conducted in April found that this widely-available rapid antibody test “is suitable for assessing previous virus exposure, although negative results may be unreliable during the first weeks after infection”.

Quite what patients do with the information gained from these antibody tests is also still unclear, though.

Scientists are still trying to establish just how much immunity is achieved following a Covid-19 infection. And the concept of so-called “immunity passports”, which some touted as a way to allow people to safely return to offices or even travel abroad without quarantine, have been watered down by health professionals and organisations, including the WHO.

Instead, tests of this kind find most approval when used for serological research purposes – and according to the South African Medical Journal, serological tests may be “a useful adjunct to a diagnostic strategy” in this country.

According to a paper released in July by the SAMJ, the sensitivity of these tests can be variable, and timing is important in order to detect either the virus or antibodies. And until there have been more tests in the South African population with regard to development of antibody responses and their ability to protect against reinfection, they may find the most use in a research and public health capacity.

“These tests may, however, be useful in guiding the public health response, providing data for research (including seroprevalence surveys and vaccine initiatives) and development of therapeutic strategies,” the paper says.

The Covid-19 rapid antibody tests will be available at Clicks Clinics nationwide for R199 from 19 October 2020. Customers can book a test with a nurse online at Clicks.co.za.

 

 

Clicks dumps TRESemmé brand after ad fiasco

By Sihle Mlambo for IOL

Clicks has dumped the TRESemmé brand with immediate effect after a racially offensive advert produced by the Unilever brand sparked a social media revolt and protests at the health and beauty store this week.

The Clicks brand has also taken a decision to stay shut on Wednesday as the EFF showed no signs of slowing down its planned week-long protests across the country.

Clicks said it was immediately delisting the TRESemmé brand from its shelves with immediate effect and would be replacing it with locally-sourced haircare brands.

This comes after TRESemmé produced an advert which depicted black women’s hair as frizzy, dull, dry and damaged, while it described white hair as normal, fine and flat.

The ad, which was published on the Clicks website, sparked the EFF to descend on 445 Clicks stores around the country on Monday.

In a statement, Clicks said it would be dumping the TRESemmé brand with immediate effect and would expand its range of local haircare products.

Clicks has also committed to work with the government to develop the local beauty market.

Clicks chief executive Vikesh Ramsunder said the events of the past few days had a significant impact on their staff and customers and they had taken a decision to close all their stores on Wednesday, September 9.

“We recognise this event has had a significant impact on our people and our customers and we have taken a decision to close our stores for a day on Wednesday 9 September.”

He also said head office staff would be subjected to diversity training.

“We will use this opportunity to engage directly with all our store staff across the country, to provide counselling and support.

“We will be supported by the ICAS Employee Health and Wellness Programme.

“We are prioritising our diversity and inclusion training programme for our head office staff.

“We will be reviewing its content, extending it wider and implementing with more urgency and focus.

“We are working with the SAPS to ensure the safety of our staff, customers and members of the public, and thank them for continuing to shop with us,” said Ramsunder.

Meanwhile, Ramsunder also said a senior executive who was responsible for the publishing of the advert had resigned, while two junior staffers remained under suspension.

He said those under suspension would undergo a fair disciplinary process, which is to be overseen by an independent external chairperson.

Ramsunder said after discussions with officials from the Department of Labour and the Trade and Industry, they would partner with government in a bid to work closely with small businesses in a bid to develop the local beauty market in South Africa.

 

Source: Takealot/News24

As the defining event of this year (if not the decade), the Covid-19 pandemic has forced the world to “adapt to a new normal”. While some industries are hidebound, experts expect the retail sector to change permanently as more businesses adopt a bricks-and-clicks model or move online completely.

Globally, e-commerce has experienced a sharp surge as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. So much so that online traffic worldwide in the supermarket segment increased by 135% in April compared to January this year. The reason for this rapid rise in online shopping is twofold. On the one side, mandatory lockdowns and store closures are encouraging more people to buy goods online and on the other, the threat of Covid-19 is discouraging people to visit crowded supermarkets.

In South Africa, 29% of online consumers say they are doing far more shopping online than before the coronavirus outbreak while 65% said they are visiting physical stores less, according to a Nielsen study of 10 markets in Africa and the Middle East. Gareth Paterson, Director Retail Vertical at Nielsen South Africa, says the rate at which people are adopting technology to shop during lockdown is paving the way for the sustained development of e-commerce in South Africa.

“We can therefore expect a permanent uplift in online shopping numbers even after the pandemic has ended, since many behaviours adopted during the Covid-19 period are likely to translate into more permanent long-term habits,” Paterson says.

Covid-19 could further cement online shopping as a permanent habit if it means continued social distancing. In a recent interview on SABC, Kim Reid, CEO of Takealot, said that e-commerce keeps people away from contact and allows them to get the goods that they require in a manner that is safe, hygienic and social-distancing friendly.

Across South Africa, more than 61 supermarkets have had to temporarily close their doors due to staff or customers testing positive to the novel coronavirus and physical shops remain hotspots. Shopping online through platforms like Takealot’s free app removes the risk of infection by allowing vulnerable customers to get their goods while remaining in self-isolation. With many safe and easy online payment options, including debit card, credit card and Instant EFT, no cash needs to be handled whatsoever. Takealot’s 30-day return policy also allows returned goods to be collected so that customers don’t even have to leave their homes.

The range of products that are available online has diversified so much that it could further diminish the need for consumers to leave their homes to shop. From pantry basics and beauty to textbooks and toys, there’s a product for every niche market. According to Takealot, some of their best-selling products over the last few weeks included indoor heaters, hair clippers, home gym equipment, sim cards and data and office equipment (printers, cartridges, laptops etc) – an accurate summary of many South Africans’ lockdown experience.

 

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