Corona: self-tests could give us more freedom

Brushing teeth, morning exercises, Corona test. This is what the start of the day could look like for millions of German citizens. Prerequisite: reliable and affordable self-tests for laymen, which are produced in gigantic quantities. The first of these tests have now been approved – but there are still big question marks over price and quantity. Can self-tests give us back our freedom??

How do Corona self-tests work?

The Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) granted special approvals on Wednesday for three products for use in the anterior nasal region. German Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) said Wednesday that the tests would soon be available in retail stores. Until now, the only rapid tests available to detect coronavirus infection were those performed by medically trained personnel.

These are usually antigen tests that work by swabbing a stick deep in the nose or throat to. In the case of self-tests, on the other hand – in addition to those now approved – gargle and spit tests are also under discussion, as well as other tests in which the swab is taken further up the nose and which are much easier to use. Spahn expressed confidence that additional tests could be added soon.

Important to know: rapid tests are designed to detect a high Viral load to detect. This means that people who are highly contagious can be easily detected – but conversely, infections with a low viral load can go undetected. Nevertheless, politicians are now massively backing the rapid tests: Health Minister Spahn has increasingly expanded the Medical Devices Dispensing Ordinance. Tests that originally could only be performed by medical personnel may now also be performed by trained laypersons, such as teachers or educators. Now the way is also clear for untrained laymen.

When will the Corona tests be approved?

Currently, up to 30 different self-test candidates for private use are in the approval process at the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM). At the moment, the Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI) is reviewing study data on the use and reliability of the tests. In Austria, self-tests are already part of everyday life. Spahn takes the matter very seriously: for an Zulang, it ultimately comes down to quality, because if the tests should provide many false negative results, "then there is also a risk in it".

Also physician representatives see this danger and urge therefore well prepared and understandable information for the use of the tests and for the interpretation of the test results. "Negative test results must not lead to a false sense of security and mislead to a careless handling of the dangers of the virus," warns physician president Klaus Reinhardt.

Consumer: Corona infection at the hairdresser's

Corona: self-tests could give us more freedom

How many Corona tests are available?

The medical technology manufacturer Nal von Minden already produces 80 million antigen rapid tests for professional use every month, and the state of Berlin is one of its major customers. Right off the bat, they could deliver 30 to 40 million self-tests a month, a spokeswoman told our editorial team. Price: between six and nine euros. In order to produce even larger quantities, however, the production facilities would have to be expanded.

One thing is certain: A Pharmacy obligation should not exist for any of the self-tests, all products can also be sold through drugstores or other stores. Reimbursement by health insurance is also not planned. It is still unclear, however, whether the self-tests will soon be subsidized by the government.

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