Questions and answers about covid-19 tests
At Mobila Doktorn we now have the ability to offer our patients to take a test for an undergoing infection with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 that causes the covid-19 disease. The tests are taken in connection with an ordinary booked home visit.
The test is a so-called rapid test and is taken through a blood test in the finger. 15 minutes later you will get an answer on whether your immune system has reacted to the virus. The doctor then goes through what the result means and how it should be interpreted.
The test is most reliable when it has been at least a week since the onset of symptoms and we currently only take samples of you who have been completely symptom free for at least two days.
Note that the test does not give answer to infectiousness and that it is not yet fully clear to what extent or how long a passed infection provides protection against future infections.
Read more about Mobila Doktorn’s view on antibody tests for the new corona virus below.
Who can be tested through Mobila Doktorn?
We currently offer both individuals and companies to test themselves as we see that the availability of this type of tests is good enough. If demand should exceed the availability of our tests, we will prioritize people in risk groups as well as people working in socially important functions. The test is included in the price for the home visit. We therefore do not charge any extra costs for this.
We are currently conducting tests in the Stockholm area, Gothenburg, Malmö/Lund and Uppsala, but plan to soon offer testing in more cities.
What is the benefit of testing?
Since the symptoms of this infection appear to differ greatly between individuals, it is today virtually impossible to draw conclusions without tests as to whether the symptoms a person had were due to a coronavirus infection. The symptoms may be similar to the flu, common cold or in the form of sore throat. They can also be heavy, or light.
Many people are interested in knowing if they have already undergone a covid-19 infection. For some people, a test can reduce anxiety about becoming seriously ill in the future or give a better picture of if the symptoms the patient experienced are due to covid-19, or if there are other causes behind it. Some employers also find that an overall picture of how many employees have been infected will facilitate the planning of their business. Mobila Doktorn does not actively recommend either companies or individuals to test themselves, but we do offer an opportunity to do so for those who find a value in it. Our recommendation to patients and organizations that are taking the test is to follow the recommendations of the authorities at any given time on, for example, physical distance.
If the test is positive, am I immune to a new infection?
The public health authority’s assessment is that a positive test result on a test of good quality in all likelihood means that the person has been infected. On the other hand, there is a risk that the tests will not detect a previous infection, which means that negative test responses may occur for people who have been infected. The risk of incorrect test responses is strongly linked to the quality and sensitivity of the test, factors that vary between manufacturers.
There are data to suggest that people who undergo a very mild variant of the infection in some cases do not develop antibodies to the same extent as those who have been seriously ill. However, a study at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg showed that almost everyone who was examined after infection had developed antibodies.
The public health authority’s (FHM) assesses that anyone who has antibodies in their blood is likely to have some protection. They also note that immunity based on past experiences of similar viruses is likely to last for such a long time that the person is not infected multiple times during the same season, but that protection gradually decreases during the first year. Exactly how long the protection lasts and how strong it is will probably vary between individuals.
As there is still no complete knowledge of this issue, Mobila Doktorn recommends those who have proven antibodies to continue to follow the authorities’ advice to the public about, for example, physical distancing.
How reliable is the test?
The tests that Mobila Doktorn uses are CE-marked, which means that there are requirements for security and documentation, and that the manufacturer takes responsibility for the quality of the test. According to the manufacturer of the test, Abbexa, the reliability is up to 99%. Mobila Doktorn has chosen this particular test because we believe it is one of the best on the market. The tests are now under validation at Swedish university hospitals, but the results have not yet been published.
No tests are 100 percent, there is always a small risk that they will give incorrect answers. This applies to covid-19 tests as well as tests for other viruses and diseases. This also applies to the so-called PCR tests carried out by the public healthcare system. There is also a small risk of incorrect handling of the test responses. Therefore, regardless of the results, Mobila Doktorn recommends that everyone follow the recommendations of the FHM for a reduction in the spread of infection.
What is the government’s view on testing?
In recent weeks, the FHM has conducted validation studies on a number of rapid tests to calculate the reliability. The intention is to increase testing in the future when the reliability of the tests can be assessed with greater certainty. This will to a large extent be done through collaborations with medical actors who can carry out tests at home.
The Swedish Medicines Agency (Läkemedelsverket) currently discourages individuals and companies from buying and performing so-called self-tests, as it is difficult for a person to evaluate the response without advice from health professional and the reliability is considered to be too low.
For sampling and testing provided by the health care, we have not yet seen any official advice from the Swedish authorities. However, the FHM points out that no rapid test has yet been validated by the authorities and that the tests are currently best used at the group level to assess the proportion of a group carrying antibodies.
Mobila Doktorn follows FHM’s validation tests and will take into account the results in our continued work on antibody tests.
Why should tests be performed by licenced healthcare professionals?
Authorities and producers of tests agree that a test by itself are not sensitive enough to produce a safe result. Therefore, the testing should always be performed by licenced healthcare professionals who have knowledge and experience of interpreting test results in their context. This applies to all types of sampling, not just with antibody rapid tests.
In assessing the test result, information about the patient’s symptoms and health history must also be taken into account. Since Mobila Doktorn’s tests are always performed by a licensed doctor, each person receives a qualified individual assessment and counseling.
Will the public healthcare have access to a sufficient amount of tests if private operators also carry out tests?
At present, the healthcare regions and Swedish authorities primarily use the so-called PCR method, where the test is analyzed in a laboratory. Thus, this is a different type of test than those used by Mobila Doktorn. Mobila Doktorn has also chosen to purchase tests after the regions have been given the opportunity to order.
If a shortage situation arises in the event that the authorities and regions start using rapid tests, Mobila Doktorn will ensure that our purchases of tests does not adversely affect the ability of the authorities or public health to carry out tests.
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