The Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS) – dependent on the Ministry of Health – has approved the temporary authorization of the dispensing in pharmacy of antigen test for professional use for the detection of Covid-19 . But, what differences exist between these new tests and those that were already dispensed in pharmacies?
As clarified by the Minister of Health, Carolina Darias , during the appearance where she announced the measure, the professional tests « are similar to those of self-diagnosis ”, Although they differ in that the sample will be nasal (the swab is only inserted into the nose and at a shallow depth), contrary to the current dispensed ones, which are nasopharyngeal (taken deeper), which “facilitates their extraction.”
Both tests are used to detect an active infection , since they identify the presence of virus proteins. A positive result means that the virus is present and there is probably an ongoing infection, as reported by the AEMPS, who points out that should be carried out during the first seven days after infection «when the viral load is at its highest point ». In addition, like PCR tests, neither of them is able to detect whether the disease has already been overcome.
“The AEMPS has already identified the companies that meet these criteria and these temporary authorizations are already in place. Therefore, I understand the concern, I share it. Our concern is maximum, it is total, from the calm and with the maximum anticipation, “the minister also clarified.
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In this regard, the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez , advanced after his meeting on Thursday with the presidents of the autonomous communities (where he also announced other measures, such as the return of the mandatory nature of the mask in exteriors) that “in a very few days, probably next week” these new tests will reach pharmacies.
This is a measure applauded by the General Council of Associations of Pharmacists Officials (CGCOF), which values it “positively”, although it hopes that it can become effective “as soon as possible”. «The situation of shortage of self-diagnosis tests is greatly affecting citizens, as we are seeing from the first line of health action in which pharmacies are found. The greatest urgency at this time is that there is supply, “they say in a statement.
Pharmacists have offered their “absolute collaboration” to Darias, the AEMPS and the pharmaceutical distribution to “implement this and any other measure that helps alleviate the situation and allows a sufficient supply of tests to be able to collaborate in the early detection of the disease. Covid-19 ».
«The objective of the pharmacist's action is to continue being an active healthcare professional who responds to the needs of citizens and to collaborate with the decongestion of healthcare centers and the reduction of healthcare pressure, speeding up the rapid detection of positives to avoid more contagions and the disproportionate expansion of the sixth wave “, they assure.
Likewise, they insist on the offer made by the pharmaceutical profession to the health authorities to participate in Public Health tasks through the network of 22,137 pharmacies , specifically in the registration and notification of positive cases, as well as in the issuance of certificates, as is already being done in some autonomous communities.
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