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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Everything you need to know about the COVID-19 self-test: use home tests responsibly

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Just one day after the Ministry of Health (Minsa) confirmed that pharmacies were authorized to market the self test or self-diagnostic tests COVID-19, these products were sold out online and very difficult to find in physical stores, even though they cost around S/200.

“In the coming days the consolidation of this offer will have greater emphasis. The first available products are very scarce and arrived with other prices. However, these self-tests, compared to the antigen and PCR tests used by laboratories and health professionals, are much cheaper”, points to Trade Ángela Flores, executive director of the National Association of Pharmaceutical Laboratories (Alafarpe).

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In this regard, Carla Sifuentes, director of the National Association of Pharmacy Chains (Anacab), asked the General Directorate of Medicines (Digemid), through a statement, the authorization of more laboratories and manufacturers to import self-tests, to meet the high demand of the population.

This guild ensures that, after the requested facilities, the price of self-diagnostic tests COVID-19 It could range between S/20 and S/45.

(Infographic: Antonio Tarazona)
(Infographic: Antonio Tarazona)

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Are Covid-19 self-tests reliable?

As it is not a health professional who takes the test, for many the possibility of obtaining wrong results in the self-test could be high. However, at Roche – the laboratory that manufactures one of the tests that is marketed in Peru – they do not consider it that way.

“The probability of error in this self-examination is extremely low. Our test has a sensitivity of 99.1% and a specificity of 99.6%. The closer the number is to 100, the less chance of error. Ours is a test that today can be bought in pharmacies and can be carried out by the person, following the instructions, with total confidence”, explains Dr. Carlos Ruiz, Andean medical manager at Roche Diagnóstica.

ALSO READ: ICU beds in Lima: Peruvian Society of Intensive Medicine warned that they are 75% occupied

Even so, the representatives of Anacab and Alafarpe agreed on the need for an education campaign not only to guide the proper use of these tests, but to know who and when they should be used, and thus avoid hoarding and shortages of these products.

For this reason, Alexis Holguín, general director of the General Directorate of Strategic Public Health Interventions of the Minsa, recalled that this type of self-test must be done, if the person has symptoms of the COVID-19, 72 hours after contact with whoever may have caused the infection.

test types

  • Molecular tests (PCR) detect the genetic material of the virus in the patient. They need to be processed in a laboratory.
  • Antigen tests (such as self-test) detect virus proteins. They do not require a laboratory. They should be done in the first days of the disease.
  • serological tests They detect the antibodies generated by the body to defend itself against an infection.


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