The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) on Wednesday discouraged COVID-19 tests at home due to possible misuse of samples and asked governments to prioritize screening tests for people with symptoms.
“We do not have enough evidence to support the performance and use of home tests. Great care must be taken against the indiscriminate use of these tests due to the possibility of taking an inadequate sample,” said Sylvain Aldighieri, in a virtual press conference. PAHO expert on covid.
Aldighieri warned that misuse of these tests can give “false negatives” as a result and, with this, spread a “false sense of security leading to relaxation of protection measures.”.
In many countries, rapid tests can be purchased in pharmacies to be used at home, while the United States Government launched a campaign so that citizens can request tests at home for free.
In addition to advising against the use of these tests at home, Aldighieri called on governments so that people with symptoms have “priority” when receiving diagnostic tests in order to avoid a shortage of tests.
PAHO reported that during the last week, the American continent registered 7.2 million new cases of COVID-19 and 15,000 deaths, in addition to strong pressure on hospitals due to the advance of the omicron variable of the coronavirus, more contagious than the previous ones. .
The agency reiterated that to face this wave of infections, it is necessary to vaccinate the population, detect and isolate positive cases, and use masks correctly.
Before the application of fourth doses of the vaccine in Chile, the deputy director of PAHO, Jarbas Barbosa, explained that more scientific evidence is still needed to demonstrate its usefulness and assured that the priority now must be to complete the vaccination schedule for all the inhabitants of the region.
According to PAHO, only Chile, Cuba, Canada and Uruguay have vaccinated more than 75% of their population with the full schedule, while there are still 10 countries below 40%, which was the goal to be exceeded in 2021, and Haiti is the only one below 20%.