The European Comission endorses the use of antigen tests to contain the spread of Covid-19, a strategy that is already being applied successfully in the Community of Madrid.
The community body has issued a health policy recommendation in which he urges the countries of the European Union to use them as part of their measures against the virus.
Specifically, the report establishes several scenarios in which its use is especially recommended: for patients with or without symptoms when positivity rates equal to or greater than 10% are expected; but also for situations in which they are made mass population testing or in the case of sanitary facilities where it can be used as a triage method.
The Commission assures in its recommendation that these rapid antigen tests would be conducive to “high prevalence situations”, that is, in places where transmission is uncontrolled or in population groups that have had contact with a positive. The objective would be, in this case, “to detect a high transmission potential in the community”, as well as “to reduce the pressure on health environments.”
Likewise, the Commission establishes that the tests must be applied by “trained health personnel or laboratories”, which would also support the claim of the Madrid president, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, so that it can be dispose of them in pharmacies.
In the document, the agency is in favor of having “additional test operators other than health personnel” to perform antigen tests, among which would be pharmacists, in order to “guarantee sufficient capacities and resources for sampling, testing and reporting ”.
Letter to the EU
Ayuso addressed the EU itself on Tuesday to validate as a form of testing against Covid-19 that pharmacies can perform antigen tests, after the rejection of his proposal by the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products.
In a letter addressed to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der LeyenAyuso explained that Madrid experts establish that antigen tests can be performed in other health centers, such as pharmacies “because their professionals are trained, guarantee safety and hygiene and the results can be communicated to the Madrid Health System.”
“Currently, the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products does not allow us to use these centers. That is why I would consider it useful for a European authority to be able to validate this new form of testing, not only in Spain but also for the rest of the European regions, ”he stated in the letter.
More than 3 million tests
The Community of Madrid has managed to successfully contain the spread of the virus, currently registering figures below that of other autonomous communities.
The region has carried out more than 3 million tests since this pandemic began. Currently between 170,000 and 200,000 weekly tests are carried out and it is “being one of the most advanced regions in the use of antigen tests, with more than 130,000 carried out during the last week”, according to the president of Madrid herself.
The deputy minister of Public Health and the Covid-19 Plan of the Community of Madrid, Antonio Zapatero, has expressed his satisfaction with the decision of the European Commission with a message on Twitter in which he emphasizes that the use of these tests is «exactly what we are doing in the Community of Madrid for three months ».
The @UnionEuropeaRD and its president @vonderleyen make a strong recommendation to European governments to make use of antigen testing and increase their ability to test… exactly what we have been doing in @ComunidadMadrid for 3 months 👌👌👌 https: / /t.co/Hrcus7R65e
– AntonioZapatero (@ZapateroAntonio) November 18, 2020