Everything suggested that at the end of May, self-diagnostic tests for the coronavirus would finally arrive at Spanish pharmacies. However, they have taken longer than necessary and, predictably, until this Thursday, July 22, they will not be able to be purchased. First you have to the order appear in the Official State Gazette (BOE) before officially going on sale.
The price of the self-diagnostic test is not final yet, but pharmacies calculate that a single one costs between 12 and 15 euros; but they will also sell them in packs of five, at about 35 euros. This could change if the BOE decides to set the price below the acquisition price, as happened with the masks. In case of close contact, the ideal is to buy several tests and have tests every three or five days to make sure that we have not caught COVID-19. But How are these coronavirus diagnostic tests used? Is it different from PCR or antigen tests that we already know?
After almost a year and a half of pandemic, we are all clear how samples are extracted in PCR and antigen tests. But let’s get back to it. Healthcare personnel use a swab (stick) that they can put through their nose or throat and thus remove a nasopharyngeal sample or oropharyngeal. They are then tested to see if we have the virus. The PCR takes more time to process because it has to go through the laboratory while the antigen tests, at most, in 15 minutes you have the results.
Now we all know what it is It is very important that the PCR and antigen test samples are collected by healthcare personnelWhy is it not necessary now? The answer is that with the self-diagnostic tests it has been sought that it is not necessary to put the swab all the way down the nose. This makes it much easier to collect samples ourselves; since if we had to extract a nasopharyngeal sample we would probably try to be indulgent with ourselves and avoid the discomfort that it causes. However, with these self-diagnostic tests, just collecting samples from the nostrils is enough to find the virus. But let’s see how everything is prepared and used.
Contents of the box and start of the diagnostic test
The first thing is to get everything out of the box. In the boxes they have to come: a swab, a cup, a liquid, and the diagnostic test. Also the instructions for use and a certificate from the European Union. The test is distributed by the pharmacist Cinfa. The next step is to use the box of the test itself as a support for the glass, since it comes with a hole to put it so that it does not spill. Once it is in place, the liquid is placed inside.
After this, now we have to remove the swab from the plastic, very carefully. We should not touch the top of the swab to avoid contaminating the sample. That is why we will always grab it at the lower end, finer, even to remove it. Once he’s out, we have to swab his nose. First a nostril, gently, but then you have to scratch a little higher inside the nasal cavity, although without reaching the bottom. In this way we will ensure that the sample is well taken. Then you have to do the same with the other nostril. You can disturb a bit or give us the feeling that we are going to sneeze because the nose is a sensitive place before certain stimuli, like the hyssop moving inside. But it doesn’t hurt.
After this you have to put the swab in the liquid and give about five or six turns. After this, it drains and goes back in. It must be one minute of a clock in the liquid. Once the time has elapsed, it is drained and taken out again. The cup is closed and the self-diagnostic test is prepared, which is like a pregnancy test.
Positive or negative?
When the self-diagnostic test is developed, we must pour about four or five drops of the liquid into it and wait for it to the first line appears. This line is the control line (C) and indicates that the test is working properly. You have to wait about fifteen minutes for the second line to appear. If it appears, it is positive. If it does not appear, negative. In this case, only the marked control bar appears after 15 minutes of waiting, therefore there is no contagion.
In the event that one of the tests is positive, it is necessary to warn sooner to the health center to tell us how to act.
The coronavirus self-diagnostic tests reached pharmacies very soon, but they have had to wait a couple of months until they have been put on sale. This, if used with care, it’s a good tool while we get vaccinated to fight the delta variant of the coronavirus.