No legal Covid-19 self-tests available in Europe yet, says Van Gucht

No legal Covid-19 self-tests available in Europe yet, says Van Gucht
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The self-tests for Covid-19 that are currently available in Europe are not legal or reliable, health officials said during a press conference on Monday.

“In Europe, there are no legal and reliable self-tests to detect the virus yet,” said virologist and interfederal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht. “Do not buy them. They can even contribute to the further spread of the virus.”

A self-test, as the name says, is a test carried out by the patient themselves, almost always a rapid test. “The best-known example of a self-test is a pregnancy test,” Van Gucht clarified.

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In that case, the sample is taken by the patient, and the interpretation of the test is also done by the patient, instead of by a trained health professional.

“Therefore, it is very important that the instructions of such a self-test are followed very closely,” he said. “The result of that test must also be read at a very specific time. If the result is read too early or too late, this leads to an error and possible misinterpretation of the results.”

Self-tests are less reliable and less accurate than lab tests, according to Van Gucht, who added that it can also give a false sense of security.

PCR-tests, with a nose swab, remain the gold standard, Van Gucht stressed.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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