The Community of Madrid will begin on February 1 to carry out tests for the virus in pharmacies. The president of the region, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, formally announced today in the Madrid Assembly the beginning of antigen testing in establishments throughout the community after having fought for two months with the Ministry of Health to get it to authorize this type of tests can be performed for the first time outside of hospitals, medical centers and laboratories.
The Community of Madrid, which will become the first autonomy in Spain to carry out tests in pharmacies that are already being carried out on a regular basis in countries such as France, however, will not make massive or discretionary use of this diagnostic technique. As inferred from the order published this Thursday in the Official Gazette of the Community of Madrid (BOCM), the Ayuso Government intends to comply with the orders issued by health at the end of December when it gave the green light to rapid antigen tests and who stated that these tests can only be performed in situations of high transmission in a given area or in its target population and only “if PCR resources are limited”.
In accordance with the orders issued at the time by Illa and which are essentially included in the text published by the community, Madrilenians will not be able to go to pharmacies to request an antigen test on their own, but it must be prescribed by the regional health system within a screening plan in a high incidence area.
Health from the beginning has not seen favorably the performance in pharmacies of antigen tests, tests on which the Community of Madrid based its strategy to successfully contain the second wave of the pandemic in autumn thanks to massive screening in the basic health zones that he isolated due to the high incidence. The department headed by Salvador Illa has always defended that this type of rapid test has a lower reliability than PCR because they only usually give positive after the appearance of symptoms and that, in addition, its free and massive use by the population could lead to a false sense of security