Posted: Tuesday July 20 2021 09:31
The Ministry of Health on Tuesday approved a royal decree authorizing the general sale and without a prescription in pharmacies of antigen tests for self-diagnosis. That is, the fastest and easiest tool to detect the coronavirus, as soon as the BOE publishes it, it can be acquired without any type of prescription. Like with a pregnancy test.
It is a decision which is now taking shape in the Council of Ministers and which has already been celebrated by the pharmaceutical sector, which even asked the Executive that the positives resulting from these tests be reflected in the epidemiological data of Health. .
Now, how much will this test cost once it goes on sale? According to the first calculations, carried out by the company Rypo -specialized in the importation and distribution of medico-sanitary equipment- the final price of the tests will be fixed by each establishment, in accordance with the initial draft royal decree, which does not impose any restrictions and also exempts VAT on the product.
Thus, as this company collects with Agence Efe, this product can be purchased individually, for an approximate price of between 3 and 7 euros, depending on the supplier. For its part, it is estimated that thanks to this measure the National Health System can discharge a good part of its pressure.
How effective are rapid tests?
As explained by the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS), when the test is used is essential. Specifically, anyone who wants to check whether or not they have coronavirus should be tested within the first five days of suspected infection. Basically the time when the viral load is highest and therefore the virus is most detectable.
AEMPS clearly recommends these tests. As the entity writes, in order for a test to be purchased at a pharmacy, it must meet “minimum performance requirements”. This is where the concept of “specificity” comes in – which dictates whether a test is reliable or not.
The tests validated by the Medicines Agency must have a specificity of at least 97%. In other words, out of 100 tests performed by 100 healthy subjects, at least 97 of them should be negative.
However, AEMPS also requires a minimum percentage regarding the “sensitivity” of the test – unlike specificity, this parameter measures the probability of correctly diagnosing a sick individual, such that it does not result in a false negative – . In this case, the minimum value must be greater than or equal to 90%.
At the same time, to have the approval of official entities, the test must contain the CE mark, followed by four digits of the notified body that evaluated it. To verify this, you can visit this web page where the European Union collects the tests that have passed the filter.
This is how rapid tests are used
As with all types of tests, the manufacturer’s instructions should be strictly followed. Otherwise, the result could be affected. Typically, these tests are equipped with three components: the detector device, a tube of liquid, which contains the reagent, and a lancet or swab that must be inserted into the nose (in the two holes).
Then this swab should be introduced into the liquid for about 15 seconds, and of this remaining liquid, three drops should be added with a pipette into the detection device. Then you need to wait about 10 minutes until the result appears.
How to distinguish a positive from a negative
As you will see in the detection device, the test has two fonts (C and T), which refer to “control” and “test”. For the result to be positive, the two lines corresponding to each letter must be visibly marked.
On the contrary, if you have a negative test, you will only see the line corresponding to the letter C. Remember, this line must be completely visible, because otherwise the test could have been defective or an error could have been made. been made in its use. Therefore, it would be invalid.
And what to do after knowing the result?
If you have tested positive, it does not matter whether you have symptoms or not: you must undergo an immediate quarantine, as well as contact the health services of your autonomous community so that they know your condition and can do a PCR test.
On the other hand, if your test is negative, it does not mean that you do not have the disease. As we said, the effectiveness of these tests is by no means foolproof, so you could have the disease and simply show a low viral load or have taken the test at the wrong time (it must be remembered that it must be done within the first week of possible contagion). In the latter case, the health authorities also recommend isolating yourself and, again, contacting medical services.