Rapid tests are not the solution to restart normal life, expert says

Rapid tests are not the solution to restart normal life, expert says
A rapid antigen test for Covid-19. Credit: Belga

Rapid antigen tests can detect the presence of the coronavirus within an hour, but on their own, they are not the solution to restart normal life, according to microbiologist Herman Goossens.

A legal framework detailing who is allowed to distribute and administer the tests is being put in place, Goossens, who chairs the testing task force, told Het Laatste Nieuws.

The law will be published in the next few days.

With rapid tests, organisers see a way to allow festivals to take place safely, and companies hope to keep it safe in the workplace if the employees are tested regularly.

"However, those rapid tests are not the be-all and end-all solution to restart normal life," Goossens said, adding that they have to be used correctly.

Additionally, testing the entire population is unrealistic, he said, because tests have to be repeated, and because people still have to go into self-quarantine.

Repetitive group testing will be possible again, in schools or companies for example, but PCR tests are still better suited for that purpose, according to Goossens.

"However, there is no such thing as zero risk," he said. "We have to accept that as a society."

Due to rapid tests, events "that many people crave" will be able to continue, but other measures will also have to remain in place.

Additionally, Goossens noted that there seems to be fatigue around testing, both among the population and among the doctors who have to administer the tests.

According to him, people with complaints still wait too long to get tested, even though it is "absolutely essential."

The Brussels Times

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