THE Ministry of Health asked the National Health Surveillance Agency (anvisa) that authorizes the self test in Covid. Faced with the explosion in the number of cases, the government wants to increase the testing of the population.
“Test, test and test” has been the mantra of the World Health Organization (WHO) since the beginning of the pandemic. But Brazil is still far from recommended. Currently, two tests are authorized in the country: PCR, which can only be done in the laboratory, and the antigen test, known as a rapid test, which can also be done in pharmacies. In several countries, in addition to these two, self-testing is also authorized.
The self-test is similar to the quick test, but can be done by laypeople at home. The kit comes with a test device, extraction cap, filter and the swab – a kind of swab used for nasal collection, the most common.
The self-test is similar to the rapid test, but it can be done by laypeople at home — Photo: Jornal Nacional/Reproduction
Anvisa has already stated that the agency’s current rules only allow the registration of self test if there is a public health policy and action strategy established by the Ministry of Health. One of the concerns is that, as we are in a pandemic, it is essential that all results are officially communicated. And with the self-test, that control becomes more difficult.
This Thursday (13th), the Ministry of Health sent to Anvisa a request for authorization of the self-test in Brazil. The government says that the self-test should be used in a complementary way, as a screening strategy, which “allows for early identification and isolation of people infected with the SARS CoV-2 virus who are asymptomatic, pre-symptomatic, or with only mild symptoms and who may be unknowingly transmitting virus”.
The ministry also says that self-testing can help at a time when the number of cases has been increasing very rapidly. And he concludes by saying that “self-testing is an additional strategy to prevent and interrupt the chain of transmission of Covid-19, along with vaccination, the use of masks and social distancing. Self-tests can be performed at home or on the go, are easy to use and produce fast results.”
Experts highlight concerns about the self-test. One of them is the difficulty of handling. If the material is collected wrong, the result may be false. The researcher at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) Margareth Dalcomo defends the self-test, but stresses that it is essential that the government maintain control over the data.
“I agree with Anvisa, that it should be incorporated as a sanitary control measure and that the person, once testing positive, would have measurable mechanisms, so to speak, to communicate this result”, says Margareth Dalcomo.
Larissa Bruna, a doctor in genetics and molecular biology, says that self-testing is an ally to help contain the virus.
“It can be used so that people can monitor themselves and isolate themselves, before an event, before meeting a family member. The person would do the self-test and, having a positive result, he isolates himself and avoids meeting people so as not to contribute to this uncontrolled contamination that we are experiencing”, emphasizes Larissa Bruna.