Roche receives special authorization for corona self-test
The therapeutic products institute Swissmedic has issued an exemption for a Roche corona self-test. This enables the Basel pharmaceutical company to offer its “SARS-CoV-2 Rapid Antigen Test Nasal” in Switzerland for use by laypeople themselves.
In the rapid test, the sample is taken from the front of the nose instead of the nasopharynx. Roche announced on Tuesday that this is much more pleasant for the user and, above all, easier to use. With the help of a simple quick reference guide, patients could take the test at home with results in as little as 15 minutes.
The test will be available in pharmacies from April 7 as part of the federal test strategy, it said. The Federal Council announced at the beginning of March that every person would give five self-tests at home per month free of charge as soon as the tests were available.
Contacts from the federal government and Lonza will be the case for the business audit committee
The National Council’s Business Review Commission (GPK-N) will deal with federal contacts with Lonza regarding vaccine production. It will also be investigated whether Switzerland could have had easier access to the Moderna vaccine.
First and foremost, the commission would like to clarify the facts and find out about the strategic considerations that the Federal Department of Home Affairs (FDHA) and the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) would have led at the time. The GPK-N has instructed its EDI / Uvek sub-commission to carry out the relevant clarifications. The sub-commission would take note of the relevant documents and hear various relevant actors at its next meetings.
She also reserves the right to delve into other aspects of management in connection with the vaccination strategy, namely the case of the meinimpfungen.ch website. The public should be informed after the clarifications have been completed.
End of the BAG media conference
This ends today’s point de press of the Federal Office of Public Health (BAG). We will keep you up to date on news about the coronavirus here in the live ticker.
What are the benefits of self-tests?
Self-tests are less sensitive, it was said, says a journalist. What does that mean?
You know that you can miss a case, says Martine Ruggli. But if you can identify most of the people who have a high viral load, then you have already achieved a lot. In the event of a positive self-test, a more sensitive variant such as a rapid test or a PCR test would automatically follow.
Patrick Mathys: “The young, mobile population is a driver of the pandemic”
Are children now the drivers of the pandemic or not? A journalist cites findings at the start of the pandemic, when children were not identified as drivers. Rudolf Hauri says there are cases in school and there are also transfers to the family. But there are not too many. In addition, massively more tests are now being carried out. Rudolf Hauri says that in any case one cannot speak of schools as hotspots.
However, the driving force is the “young, mobile population”, adds Patrick Mathys. The test strategy would now also be aligned with this.
Spit self-tests still not available
In Germany, self-tests for spitting can already be bought in shops, in Switzerland not. Why is that so? Asks a journalist. “In Switzerland we have strict requirements for the validation of such tests. We have not yet received any documents that prove to us that the tests are sufficiently sensitive, ”replies a BAG expert.
What use is the test offensive?
Patrick Mathys: «Of course we hope to have an impact on the pandemic situation. We hope that the test offensive and the rapid tests will result in a decrease – or in any case no further increase in the number of cases.
Ruggli: “We’re not ready for Easter yet”
There are no self-tests available at Easter. A journalist wants to know why.
«We tried to be ready on April 1st. Unfortunately, it was not possible to provide the deliveries in this short time. It is a great logistical challenge for the suppliers and the pharmacies. This takes a while. It would of course have been better for the population if the self-tests had been available before Easter, ”admits Martine Ruggli from the Pharmasuisse pharmacists’ association.
How do you control the five doses?
How do you check that everyone only gets five tests? “We will make customers aware of this,” says Martine Ruggli. So you also rely on trust. In addition, the health insurance would be billed, i.e. the costs would be covered. If the health insurance card is scanned, you have an overview.
When will the vaccination certificate be ready?
A journalist asks when the vaccination certificate will be available. «Basically as soon as possible. We are working flat out to ensure that this Covid-19 certificate is available by summer, “Mathys answered the question.
Do you have your own Swiss vaccination certificate?
The EU will set uniform requirements for the member states, but it is up to the individual states to implement them. This is what Switzerland is doing, too, says Nassima Mehira, co-project manager for the Covid-19 certificate. So there will be no EU vaccination certificate.
Various technical solutions are now being evaluated, which are also best feasible for Switzerland – and which are also accepted internationally.
How early before visiting family do you have to get tested?
Now the question and answer session begins. The entire population cannot do a corona test 24 hours before their grandparents visit. A journalist wants to know whether it makes sense to get tested earlier instead of not at all.
“If you get tested today and are positive, you won’t visit your grandmother. It basically makes sense to take a test one way or another. But if there are more than 24 hours between the test and the visit, the result is no longer reliable and you must continue to adhere to all measures. A test result is always a snapshot that must be interpreted with caution, »replies Mathys.
Rudolf Hauri: “Series tests in schools are worthwhile”
Contact tracing in the cantons works to a large extent, says Rudolf Hauri, President of the Association of Cantonal Doctors. There are always reports from schools that it must be assumed that cases from the school have reached the families.
The effort for series tests is great, but it is worthwhile. There have been far fewer quarantine cases where these are carried out, said Hauri. The rapid tests just described, which will be available in pharmacies from next week, would not be suitable for such mass tests – spit tests or PCR tests should be preferred to serial tests in schools. But that does not mean that the rapid tests are useless, says Hauri.
More than 100,000 vaccinations can be administered every day, says Hauri. This as soon as the promised vaccination quantities have arrived.
Five self-tests per person per month free of charge
Ruggli demonstrates how you can do the self-test yourself at home. “These self-tests are useful before visiting family members and friends. At the moment, everyone should receive five self-tests per month free of charge – but more can also be purchased. ”
320 pharmacies would currently offer rapid tests. Which these are and which pharmacies also offer PCR tests can be found on the website www.ihre-apotheke.ch, Link opens in a new window evident.
Ruggli: “Self-tests will be available from April 7th”
Martine Ruggli, President of the Swiss Pharmacists’ Association, Pharmasuisse, will speak next. “We are pleased that these self-tests will be available in all pharmacies from Wednesday, April 7th. They are a good addition to the existing measures. But then not everyone is allowed to rush to the pharmacy, otherwise we won’t be able to cope with the onslaught. ”
The pharmacy staff are already preparing and have placed orders, says Ruggli. “There will be bags with one or five self-tests. Each resident should receive a maximum of five self-tests per month, the capacities should be sufficient. ” This is a huge logistical challenge for the pharmacies, so everyone should be patient.
The rapid tests are a supplement, but they do not replace the other tests
In addition to PCR tests and rapid tests by medical staff, rapid tests will also be available from April 7th, which can be obtained from the pharmacy. But these are on the lower level in terms of accuracy and should, for example, contribute to security. If you intend to visit your grandfather or grandmother in a retirement home, you should prefer a rapid antigen test by a specialist to a self-test, says Patrick Mathys. You shouldn’t rely on a negative result for more than a day.
The motivation to take a rapid test, be it to protect yourself and others. The test results should then be handled responsibly. Anyone who did a positive rapid test should do a PCR test and isolate themselves until then, says Patrick Mathys. A negative test result does not release hygiene and distance rules. The federal government assumes that there are enough such rapid tests.
Patrick Mathys on the vaccination certificate
According to Patrick Mathys, the number of vaccinations is increasing significantly. The vaccination certificate is now to become a vaccination certificate, as already announced. The proof in paper form, which is already being submitted, should therefore be replaced. This means that the vaccination is recorded, but not digitally registered, for example.
Above all, it is important that the certificate is recognized internationally. Central storage is not planned, the certificate should be given to the vaccinated on paper or digitally. It is still unclear how this should be technically solved.
Patrick Mathys: “Unfortunately, the number of cases continues to rise”
Now Patrick Mathys speaks about the vaccinations: «16.6 vaccination doses have already been vaccinated per 100 inhabitants. A little over half a million people were fully vaccinated, around 6.2 percent of the Swiss population. ”
Mathys warns of a continued increase in the number of cases. “We see it abroad and we see it here: the number of cases will probably continue to rise. The number of cases is currently increasing, especially in the younger age groups. It can be assumed that this increase will soon pass over to the older generations. ”
Now live: media conference of federal experts
Patrick Mathys, Head of the Crisis Management and International Cooperation Section at the BAG, opens today’s Point de Presse des Bundes. “Unfortunately, the number of cases in Switzerland continues to rise, hospitalizations and deaths are currently relatively stable. The situation is rather uncertain. ”
The R-value across Switzerland is 1.1. “The number of cases could double within three weeks. The number of reproductions is now over 1 in all cantons, which indicates growth in all cantons, ”continues Mathys.
Guide values for tightening
The Federal Council will decide at a later date whether the epidemiological situation in Switzerland calls for tightening the measures in April. The R-value is currently exceeded on a 7-day average, one of four guide values that the Federal Council defined for new tightening.
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