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Community of Madrid says health opens door to antigen testing in pharmacies

Publication: Wednesday, November 18, 2020 6:20 PM

Ministry of Health sources assure LaSexta that the Ministry of Health is open to communities considering antigen testing at pharmacies, despite initial government resistance.

According to the same sources, Madrid’s Minister of Health, Enrique Ruiz-Escudero, has already spoken at the meeting of the Interterritorial Health Council chaired by the Ministers of Health and Territorial Policy. The chief of health, Salvador Illa, has asked for a detailed plan from the communities which ask to implement these screenings.

From the ministry, they claim that Madrid will present this plan to the ministry as soon as possible.

Carrying out antigenic tests in pharmacies is one of the challenges of the Community of Madrid and Catalonia as a means of controlling outbreaks of COVID-19. In the capital, Deputy Minister of Public Health Antonio Zapatero sees these rapid tests – the result is known in 15 minutes – as an important way to locate outbreaks and quickly isolate positives, instead of waiting 24 or 48 hours that requires PCR analysis.

Exceptional measures

“We are in a pandemic and we must take exceptional measures”, declared Zapatero, on the fact that they are carried out by pharmacists, specifying that – to the detriment of the analysis of the architecture of the premises, “in the great majority of pharmacies can search for antigens. “

The Secretary of State for Health, Silvia Calzón, stressed on Wednesday that the measure “must continue to be studied” and warned against the risk of generating “false security” with this type of test.

As he warned, aside from testing close contacts and symptomatic patients during the first five days, “great care must be taken in the interpretation of these tests.” “Imagine the risk that is assumed in a population when false negatives can arise and someone can have false peace of mind in saying that they are not infected and continue to be infected,” he said. he warned.

Legal risks

However, Fernando Simón stressed on Monday that getting them in pharmacies could be of significant help against the coronavirus, although he warned that one should be aware of the associated risks and legal and jurisdictional issues that could arise.

From Brussels, the European Commission on Wednesday recommended to member countries the use of rapid antigenic tests to diagnose suspected cases, but only those with symptoms, because they are less effective when it comes to detecting asymptomatic cases. .

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