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what they are, how they work and when and where you can buy them

07/19/2021 at 6:20 PM CEST

From tomorrow, if it is approved in the Minister council, we can begin to acquire in all the pharmacies of the country the known COVID-19 self-diagnostic test.

A few tests of antigens or antibodies that will help us to know if we are suffering or not the coronavirus infection (antigens) or if we have suffered it before and have generated antibodies (antibodies or serological).

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The objective of this measure, in addition to responding to a demand from the pharmaceutical sector, is to increase diagnostic capacity of the country to help stop the spread of the virus by reducing infections.

They may be carried out, in people who have had close contact and may not have developed symptoms. In that sense, the focus is on people between the ages of twelve and thirty.

The final go-ahead from the Government is missing for its sale to start, but before its imminent arrival we try to answer some of the key questions about the COVID-19 self-diagnostic tests.

What types of COVID-19 self-diagnostic tests exist

These types of tests are designed to be able to perform them without the need for the intervention of a health worker and two types of tests with two different objectives will be made available to the public:

Antigen test: it is in charge of detecting if there is an active infection at the time of the test, since it manages to confirm the existence or not of certain virus proteins. It should be done during the first seven days after infection as this is the time when the viral load is highest. There are possibilities, according to experts, that this antigen test will give false negatives if not performed in an adequate way Antibody or serological test: this type of test does not serve specifically for the detection of an active infection, but rather It will help to know if at some point COVID-19 has passed and now we have antibodies against the virus. It is usually done after the disease has passed

When should I take a COVID-19 self-diagnosis test?

This type of self-diagnostic test They are a complement to end up defeating the COVID-19 pandemic since by being able to detect more positives, symptomatic or not, we can stop the chain of transmission of infections ahead of time.

The test must be carried out in the first seven days after it is understood that the infection could have been contracted or in the five days after the appearance of symptoms.

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This is when the viral load is highest.

Self-diagnostic antigen tests “must have the CE marking on their labeling followed by the 4 digits of the notified body that has evaluated it,” they point out from the Spanish Ministry of Health.

Where can I buy the COVID-19 self-diagnostic tests

The test they will be sold exclusively through pharmacies nationwide.

Until now it was essential to present a prescription from our doctor at the establishment, but with the modification of the Royal Decree 1662/2000 They can be purchased without any medical prescription.

It is essential that we understand the importance of acquiring them through pharmacies to avoid any problem or fraud when buying them in other ways.

As for the price, although the exact cost they will have has not yet been specified, what does seem clear is that it will not be subsidized by the Social Security. It will be, yes, “an affordable price”, according to Carolina Darias, Minister of Health.

How should I perform a COVID-19 self-diagnostic test

In the Ministry of Health of Spain they show us the correct way to carry out the test to obtain an accurate result:

Read Before Use: It is essential that we follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use Sampling is key: A poor quality sample can lead to an erroneous result. A word of advice: to prevent samples from degrading, do the test immediately after taking it. Reliability is not 100%: Bear in mind that the lack of experience of those who perform it, compared to healthcare personnel, can affect performance Of the tests.

Two exists types of sampling in the case of antigen tests: nasal or saliva.

In the case of the nasal test, we must introduce the swab into the nose and collect the sample from there. It should be no more than two centimeters in, nothing to do with what we have seen on television or what they have been able to do to us in health centers.

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Once collected, the sample will be deposited in the tube with the reagent liquid and it will be stirred for a certain time.

If the self-diagnostic test tells us to collect the sample by saliva, the sample will be collected from the tongue and the same process will be followed as in the previous case.

Regarding the antibody or serological tests, the sample that we will collect will be through blood and following the manufacturer’s recommendations.

The results, if both affirmative and negative, will appear on the control line. If it is positive, two horizontal lines of color will appear, the test line (T) and the control line (C); Y if negative, a single horizontal colored line will appear, the control line (C).

Once the test has been performed, if no colored line appears or only the control line (C) is correctly displayed, the test must be considered invalid. If in doubt, you should repeat the test or consult a professional pharmacist.

What to do when I have the result of my COVID-19 self-test

If we confirm that the test turns out to be valid, there may be two variables, positive or negative, each of which carries a course of action:

When the test is positive: you must immediately begin your isolation and contact the health services of your autonomous community -in the case of Spain- If my test is negative: you must not relax the security measures (use of a mask, washing hands, avoid contact as much as possible & mldr;) as it may be a false negative. Keep a close eye on your symptoms.

It is important to follow the instructions of the health authorities to the letter so that we can help control the fifth wave of coronavirus and achieve, sooner rather than later, end the COVID-19 pandemic once and for all.

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