Anvisa (National Health Surveillance Agency) decided today, in a board meeting, to postpone the release of the covid self-test in the country, requested by the Ministry of Health last week. By 4 votes to 1, the agency gave the ministry a period of 15 days to present additional information about the use of the tests.
Defended this week by President Jair Bolsonaro (PL), self-tests are used in Europe and the United States, but have not yet been released in Brazil. In the case of the self-test, which must be found in pharmacies, the patient himself is the one who collects his sample, at home, and takes the result according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Director Cristiane Jourdan, the request’s rapporteur, was the only one who voted to release the self-test, but made reservations to highlight that the ministry should detail a nationwide testing strategy. For the other directors, however, the government must develop this public policy before the self-tests are released.
“An approval along these lines would only provide the possibility of access to a diagnostic screening instrument, which necessarily needs to come in the wake of a public policy, in the sense of solving a series of issues so far not fully covered by the analysis we carried out. “, said the president of Anvisa, Antonio Barra Torres.
The collegiate board of Anvisa meets again tomorrow, from 10 am, to decide whether to release the Coronavac vaccine for children from 3 years of age. The request for emergency use of the immunizer for children was made by the Butantan Institute.
In the technical note sent to Anvisa, the ministry stated that the self-testing it is “an additional strategy to prevent and interrupt” the transmission of the coronavirus, alongside social isolation and the use of masks. “You self tests can be performed at home or on the go, are easy to use and produce quick results.”
The text has parameters that manufacturers of self-tests must follow in relation to the product and packaging, and dictates the maintenance of a toll-free telephone communication channel to support users. The measure aims to help people use the self-test and take action in the face of a positive result.
For Anvisa directors, however, the government needs to clarify, among other points, whether there will be a mechanism to notify positive cases and how these numbers will be included in official data.
Bet on other countries
The hope of different European governments is that self-testing will unburden the health system and clinical centers, many of which have now been taken up by queues of hours for people to be evaluated.
In England, for example, residents can pick up self-tests for free at different locations. The government provides a user manual with guidelines for different situations. A person who has contact with someone who has tested positive, for example, can receive a kit with seven tests to do at home over the course of a week.
For those who are from the United States or are on a trip, for example, you can find the product at any pharmacy.
In Germany, the self-test became the target of an intense search as of November. Self-test races were also verified in Spain and France.