Rapid coronavirus antibody tests, the latest fight against the pandemic, will be introduced to Spain’s network of pharmacies this week.
The tests will enable citizens to take the simple test at home and find out whether they have had the virus or not.
After a simple prick of the finger, the results of the test will be shown in just 10-minutes and is said to be 90% effective in detecting the presence of antibodies.
Over 500,000 of the tests are set to be distributed to local pharmacies after the Puente de Constitución ends on Tuesday, December 8.
The cost of each test will be €25, with medical supervision preferred in order to control traceability of those who may test positive.
Spanish pharmacies have become a focal point in the fight against the virus due to the proximity to the users.
Although the antibody tests will be an important tool to help the country’s testing program, they can only tell whether a user has had the virus in the past.
There is also a call for pharmacies to be equipped with antigen tests which can determine if someone is infected in just 15 minutes. However, they are not as reliable in those who are asymptomatic, unlike the PCR test.
Communities including Madrid have requested that the antigen tests are made available in pharmacies to better control the spread of the virus.
How do the tests work?
The most important characteristic of the antibody test is in its speed and simplicity to determine whether someone has been previously infected or not.
All that is required is a quick pin-prick of the finger and after just 15 minutes they will know whether the antibodies are present.
How will I know if I am infected?
The test aims to determine whether the IgM or IgG antibodies are present.
If the IgM antibodies are present, this will indicate that the user has recently been infected, however, it may not be active and will most likely have overcome the virus.
If the IgG antibodies are detected, this will indicate that the infection is no longer present and that the antibodies have been generated longer.
If neither IgG or IgM antibodies are present, it will mean that the user has not contracted the virus, although they may currently be infected. If symptoms are still being displayed by the patient, another test would be required after 3-5 days.
Will I need a prescription to get a test?
Yes, you will need a prescription from a GP first in order to get the test for traceability and control purposes.
How many will be distributed?
Swiss pharmaceutical company Primalab, plans to distribute 500,000 of the tests in the first three months to 99% of the 22,000 pharmacies throughout the country.
How much will the antibody tests cost?
The test will be around €25, with the company anticipating that the price will be reduced after three to four months.