All EOS blogs All Spain blogs  Start your own blog Start your own blog 

Live News From Spain As It Happens

Keep up to date with all the latest news from Spain as it happens. The blog will be updated constantly throughout the day bringing you all the latest stories as they break.

Pharmacies to sell OTC Covid self-test kits from next week
14 July 2021 @ 18:38

SELF-TESTING kits for Covid-19 will be on sale in pharmacies across Spain from Tuesday next week without prescription, health minister Carolina Darías has announced.

Until now, Covid tests could be purchased from pharmacies subject to availability, but only with a prescription, meaning that in most cases, patients would simply be tested at the GP practice or hospital which would have prescribed them.

Otherwise, there was no way of an ordinary member of the public who was not a known contact and had no symptoms could carry out a 'peace of mind' test, apart from going to a private clinic where the price was likely to be prohibitive.

Selling antigen and antibody tests over the counter will allow suspect cases, including those with no symptoms, to be detected 'far more quickly', says Sra Darías, who recalls that most of those currently testing positive are aged approximately 12 to 29 and, in the main, asymptomatic.

High-street pharmacies will be allowed to advertise the availability of test kits to buy, and to sell them without prescription – something they have been clamouring to be able to do for months.

In fact, pharmacies in the Greater Madrid region have had large numbers of test kits in stock since February in anticipation, but have not been able to sell them off-prescription, which 'constituted a major barrier', Sra Darías says.


Different test types

Antigen and antibody tests give fast results – in 10 to 30 minutes – and are much cheaper than a PCR, although the latter is strongly recommended for anyone with symptoms or strongly suspected of being positive, since they provide more detailed information about the viral structure, enabling them to be treated effectively.

The fast-track, cheaper tests serve mainly as peace of mind for people who merely want to 'prove they are negative' – such as before visiting an elderly or immune-compromised family member or friend.

As they can be used at home and are easy to read, they do not need to be sent off to a laboratory and do not require the intervention of a medical professional – thus easing the pressure on the State health service.

They are generally reliable - not as much as a PCR, but only a negligible number of false positives have been recorded, and false negatives are even more rare.

Antibody tests do not detect active infection, but reveal to what extent virus-fighting properties in the blood have been generated – for those who have not been vaccinated, it will tell them whether or not they have already had Covid, since this is the only way a non-immunised person would acquire antibodies.


Understanding antibodies

The main indicators are the IgM and IgG – the first to appear are the IgM, normally in the first seven to 10 days after contact with an infected person, and the IgG appear between 10 and 15 days after.

This therefore means that a positive IgM result indicates the person has been exposed to the virus recently, but does not confirm whether they are still infected or whether they are now cured, especially as the virus does not always show up on a test in the first few days.

A positive IgG result shows the person has been exposed to the virus but is not necessarily infected – it could mean they have recovered from it months ago.



Like 1


Only registered users can comment on this blog post. Please Sign In or Register now.


This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse you are agreeing to our use of cookies. More information here. x