Covid-19. Autotests on sale starting this Thursday

Achieved with sample collection in the nose, about two centimeters from the beginning of the nostril – and not in the nasopharynx area, as in current diagnostic tests -, the self-test to detect covid-19 is available from this Thursday in some pharmacies and parapharmacies in mainland Portugal.

The pharmaceutical company Roche, the multinational responsible for the distribution of these South Korean devices, started distributing some copies this Wednesday, Infarmed and Roche confirmed to Expresso, being now only dependent on “logistical distribution issues” to reach pharmacies and parapharmacies.

This Thursday some tests will already be available at Well’s parapharmacies, Sonae’s chain announced. These tests can be purchased at physical stores in mainland Portugal (on the islands too, in a matter of days), at unit price of € 6.99. There will be a week left before they are also available in a batch of 25 units, for 125 euros. But the price should change depending on the place of sale, as explained by the National Association of Pharmacies (ANF) to Expresso, because pharmacies have their own commercial policies.

The pharmaceutical company also clarifies that “the price will be defined by the point of sale where the test will be marketed”, however, “the cost should not be a barrier to access to the diagnosis and we believe that the price will be established in a responsible manner so that there is access tests for those who need them “.

What this test brings again

It is a rapid antigen test to detect SARS-CoV-2, but it brings the novelty that it can be done through self-diagnosis, that is, by the citizen himself, without the intervention of a health professional.

As with a pregnancy test, it is included in the category of over-the-counter medical devices, without a prescription. Can be purchased by people of legal age, is exempt from VAT and will not – at least for now – be reimbursed by the State.

It consists of a swab (shorter than that of current diagnostic tests), a test strip, a tube with a plug and a dosing cap, in addition to instructions in Portuguese. Once performed, the test takes 15 to 30 minutes to present the result.

If it is positive and the sample has been well collected, the probability of the result is reliable. In clinical trials, the test detected 83 out of every 100 patients with covid-19. And, testing positive, the citizen you must call the Health line 24 (808 24 24 24) or fill out the form that will be shared on the DGS page communicating your result. Even if the result is negative, it must also be notified to the health authorities. In this case, the option should always be to fill in the form.

According to the ordinance of the Ministry of Health, this is an “exceptional and temporary regime”, lasting six months, to respond to the need for mass testing of the population.

The medicine authority is currently evaluating more registration requests for other brands’ self-tests, however, it does not reveal how many and when they may also be available on the market.

[Notícia em atualização]

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