RSV Season Has Started & It’s Spreading Fast

What are we doing to fight back?

Right now, RSV is sweeping across South Africa. Many of South Africa’s big health organizations, like our partner the National Institute For Communicable Diseases Of South Africa, are putting out warnings to clinicians.

What is RSV?

RSV, or the Respiratory syncytial virus, is a common respiratory virus. A respiratory virus is something that affects the lungs and airways (breathing passages). RSV mostly causes mild, cold-like symptoms like fever, coughing, runny noses and sore throats.

Is RSV a Serious Infection?

RSV is usually mild, but it can be serious, especially for infants and older adults. This is because RSV can lead to other conditions like Pneumonia or bronchiolitis. The symptoms of RSV can also get worse, especially for people with underlying conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma and congestive heart failure.

Why Are SA Health Organizations Putting Out Warnings?

Over the last 10 years RSV had a pattern, it usually started infecting people before flu season kicked off and died down around the end of Feb. But with COVID-19 pandemic the RSV season has been thrown off its usual patterns and is only starting now at the end of March. The big thing that’s worrying a lot of health researchers though is this RSV’s season’s higher than usual infection rate, that’s really hit schools and especially kids under 5 hard this year.

How Can We Fight Back?

If you, a friend or a family member over 18, feel sick with these symptoms, get your self tested for free with our Cough Check study. If your kid is feeling sick, and they are showing the warning signs of a serious RSV infection, you can get them tested quickly with our 3 in 1 PCR test. This test uses just one swab but tests for RSV, influenza and COVID, so you will know exactly what’s going on.

Cough Check

No Doctor Referral Required

Free Rescheduling & Cancellation

Results in 24-36hrs & Completely Free

Free Medical Results Certificate With Each Test

Test Yourself From the Safety of Your Home

This study is proudly partnered with National Institute For Communicable Diseases Of South Africa

What our EPIC customers have to say

Compliments to your staff and centre. I was so impressed by how the entire process was handled. So polite and comforting and professional.

Dee Munks, Durban Epic Testing Centre Client

Very impressed with your service. Your Staff were professional and well mannered. Will definitely recommend you!

Cheryl Clegg, Cape Town Epic Testing Centre Client

Baie danke dat julle epicentre gekry het om my COVID-19 toets tuis to kom doen. Die hele proses was glad nie onaangenaam nie, Josh was baie vriendelike en die toets was vinnig en glad nie traumaties soos wat die staat en social media jou wil laat dink nie. Weereens dankie, ek sal jul op hoogte hou oor die resultaat proses.

Jaco, PI; Cape Town Epic Testing Centre Client
What a fast and friendly service!
Nadia, Maritime Solutions

My client would like to thank the entire Cape Town Epicentre team, for the excellent manner in which their employees have been made aware of their status.

Jan, Optimal Solve; Cape Town Epic Testing Centre Client

I am so grateful for all that Johann has done for us as a family and still doing. I am eternally grateful, and I stand in awe of his kindness. It brings tears to my eyes to think that someone can be so kind to total strangers. May the Lord bless you and keep you and take you from strength to strength. I took my uncle from a drug house about two months ago. He was slowly disappearing because of malnutrition. He doesn’t have any children or a wife. We all he has, and now you are willing to go the extra mile for him. My words are not enough to thank you. 🙏🏼 Bless you sir

Melton, Cape Town Epic Testing centre client

What is Cough Check?

Cough Check is a Self-swabbing Pilot Study, which aims to come to patient’s homes and give them the chance to test themselves.

Take charge of your COVID-19 test. Epicentre believes you should have control of your health. When you feel sick, your body is sensitive. With self-swabbing, you can control how fast or slow your swab is inserted during your COVID-19. This complete control ensures a less painful and invasive test and has evidence of equal effectiveness of tests by trained professionals.

Epicentre Health Research is in partnership with The Centre for Respiratory Diseases and Meningitis (CRDM) as part of The Viral Watch (VW) programme. This study aims to test for both the influenza viruses, Human respiratory syncytial virus and SARS-Cov-2 (COVID-19).

What is the Cough Check test procedure?

To book a Cough Check test with Epicentre, you will need to either book a test online or message our WhatsApp number at 072 843 7564

✔ The Cough Check team will ask you some questions they read on their tablet. These questions are multiple choice and very easy.

✔ The Cough Check team will ask you to test yourself and give you instructions on how to do it

This involves taking a long thin cotton Q-tip known as a swab and sticking it up your nose and slowly turning it, taking it out and placing it in a protective plastic container

✔ The Cough Check team will then send your ‘swab’ to our lab at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases to test for COVID-19, the common cold and the flu.

What are we hoping to achieve?

COVID-19 is a new disease that has affected the lives of all South Africans. There is still a lot to learn about COVID-19 and how it has affected communities. Our primary aim is to:

1. To assess if testing yourself is effective for picking up these viruses

2. To describe the symptoms of patients with undiagnosed acute respiratory tract illness and compare them to those that are diagnosed.

3. To improve the detection of these viruses

4. This information is important to guide in planning and decision-making for preventing future waves of the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa, as well as to pick up what the new strains of flu are for the next flu season.

Our secondary aims are to:

1. To estimate the VE of the influenza vaccine against laboratory-confirmed influenza illness in 2021 if the detection rate of influenza and sample size allows for the analysis.

2. To estimate the VE of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine against laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 illness in 2021 if the detection rate of SARS-CoV-2 and sample size allow for the analysis

3. To document logistic constraints, costs and acceptability of home self-swabbing for identification of influenza, SARS-CoV-2 and RSV as a supplement to existing VE platforms.

4. To assess the logistics of samples refrigeration, timely processing for culture and isolate identification using self-swabbing.

5. To compare timing and extent of influenza, SARS-CoV-2 and RSV virus circulation as detected in facility-based surveillance to that documented by home-based self-swabbing

6. To describe the timing between illness onset, collection kit arrival to household, collection and delivery to the laboratory for self-swabbing

Who should sign up for Cough Check?

The Cough Check team can visit your home if:

✔ You are experience any of these symptoms:

shortness of breath, cough, sore throat, loss of taste or small, fatigue, myalgia or chest pain

✔ You contact the Epicentre Team on WhatsApp at 072 843 7564 and ask to take part

✔ You organize a time to meet at your home with our team

✔ You live within 30km of one of our Drive-Through branches

What just want to get tested for free but don’t want to be part of a study?

❌ Unfortunately, it is a requirement of our free testing that you take part in our study

✔ You are welcome to make use of our paid testing service.

Will I find out my results of my test?

✔ Yes, we will send you your results

How is Cough Check anonymous?

✔ All participants’ details are kept private so that participants cannot be identified.

✔ To do this we link participants to a barcode not their name.

✔ Cough Check has gone through a very strict ‘ethical review’ with several independent ethical comities for every part of the study. We have to protect every participant and follow a very strict plan about what happens to each person’s information (in terms of where it goes & who sees it). Which are explained in detail to every person who participates.

✔ & each team member in the Cough Check study, is required to sign a confidentiality agreement when they begin working on the project.

So they may not discuss this information or disclose it to any outside parties.

Why is it important for people to participate?

✔ Every person who participates gives us more information on COVID-19, the flu and the common cold is impacting South Africans like you around the country.

✔ By testing yourself you help us show scientists that patients should be given the power to control their own health

✔ You help South Africa make testing easier and safer

When should you get a Cough Check PCR test?

A COVID-19 PCR test or a polymerase chain reaction test, is a COVID test that is done to find genetic material from the COVD-19 virus. This kind of molecular tests detects the RNA of the coronavirus and are sensitive enough to only need a very tiny amount of it in order to pick up an infection.

The benefit of this test is its ability to pick up very small amounts of viral RNA very early in an infection, so there is a low chance for false negatives, including among pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID-19 cases.

You can test for COVID-19 5 days after you have been exposed to the virus.

In South Africa having a COVID test result can be the difference between getting into hospital, so we all need to understand that to book a COVID test with Epicentre:

You DO NOT need to wait 7 days

You need to wait 5 days after you think you touched or breathed in the COVID virus

You DO NOT need a doctors referral

You Do NOT need to be showing symptoms

You just need to make an online booking or arrive at our testing branch (We are happy to accept walk-ins)

In the picture above you can see the process or stages of a COVID-19 infection

Day (-)5: patients exposure to COVID-19 happens.

It is only after this 5-day period that their infection will officially ‘begin’.

Day 0-2: 5 days after their initial exposure, their infection will ‘happen’ in these first 2 days

They will become contagious in those first 2-3 days, but will show no symptoms

You can test at this point because your infection has officially begun

Day 3: Their symptoms will appear

But for 80% of people, they will have no symptoms or a mild case of COVID-19

Day 5-7: This is a crucial period of days as it is at this point that many people go into hospital if they have a serious case of the virus. Some patients may have a “mild” case of the disease in the very beginning, but their symptoms may get worse over the course of the first week or more & then they may need hospitalization.

Those who need hospitalization normally reach this point of needing additional health support on day 5 to 7 after their symptoms start (Wang, et al.).

These patients should be on the lookout for any worsening ability to perform normal activities or tasks at home due to ‘shortness of breath’. These patients should immediately contact their doctor.

These patients need to take a copy of their positive COVID-19 results & get their symptoms checked at a healthcare facility.

For more information on the serious symptoms of COVID-19 to watch for, you can read our informative article.

Day 14: If you had a mild case and are symptom free, you can stop isolating.

After this point if you recovered and want to test for a COVID-19, you would need to use a Rapid COVID-19 Antibody test

For a more in depth look at the stages of a COVID-19 infection take a look at our helpful article on the day by day symptoms of a COVID-19 infection.

How can a COVID PCR test help you?

A COVID-19 PCR test can help you:

We provide free COVID-19 PCR certificates with every PCR test. You can use this certificate (if it is positive) for entry into hospital for treatment.

A PCR test can also give you certainty on your COVID-19 status as it is the most accurate COVID test on the market.

What Laboratory Does Epicentre Use?

At our KwaZulu-Natal branches we use Indalo Bio labs in Durban

At our JHB branches we use iMed Laboratories in JHB

& at our CT branches we use Indalo Bio labs in CPT.

Where can you get a Walk-In Lab test?

You can get a wide range of tests with our testing angels at one of our many branches!

Book with Epicentre

For 20 years Epicentre has been fighting South African’s infectious diseases, and now we’re taking on COVID-19! We are a company founded on a vision, ending disease in South Africa! So we believe in making an IMPACT.

We are an independent organization that is committed to creating a positive impact on health & wellness for all in South Africa. We want to close the gap between unscreened, undiagnosed, and uncontrolled HIV & COVID-19 infections as well as other chronic diseases for all South Africans.

By booking your tests with Epicentre, you are supporting a real local company that has worked for 20 years in all 9 provinces, from Pollsmoor prison to Constantia; & you’re getting a gold standard service that experts trust!

Epicentre Special Deals

We offer free and heavily discounted tests as they are subsidized by research organizations that are looking to use this anonymous information to investigate various research questions, like can people test themselves for COVID?

10% Off All Walk-In Lab Tests

Only for pensioners at all branches.

Free Blood Pressure Tests

With all Walk-In Lab tests

Rapid COVID-19 Antigen/infection testing

R50 pensioners discount!

Epicentre offers

Walk-In Lab

Please note that our packages are just a guide, you can pick any of these tests in these packages, add extra tests or take out any tests. Choose what suits your needs!

Women’s Wellness Package (Foundation)

Women’s Wellness Package (+40yrs)

Men’s Wellness Package (Foundation)

Men’s Wellness Package (+40yrs)

Arthritis Package

Athletes Total Wellness Package

Diabetes Monitoring Package

Diabetes Screening Package

Comprehensive Metabolic Panel Package

Comprehensive Weight Loss Package

Kidney Package

Liver & Pancreas Package

Long COVID Package

HIV Monitoring Package

HIV Screening Package

Iron Deficiency & Anaemia Package

Menopause Package

Women’s Fertility Test Package

Men’s Fertility Test Package

STI Screening Package

Thyroid Screening Package

Laboratory Typhoid Test


Measles Test Package

Drive Through

Drive-Thru COVID Tests

Rapid COVID-19 Antigen/infection testing

(R250 with a R50 pensioners discount!)

Drive-Thru COVID-19 PCR Testing


Home based COVID-19 PCR Testing

(R1150 + travel over 50kms)

Rapid COVID-19 Antibody Tests

On Sale! (R150)

Express International Flight Testing

(PCR Flight certificate in 12hrs)


Cape Town Only

Extra Express International Flight Testing

(PCR Flight certificate in 4-5hrs)


Cape Town Only

International Flight Testing Package

(PCR + Antiviral Mask)


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