Rapid tests can be used from November to detect corona infections, Minister De Jonge of Public Health expects. He is discussing this with GGDs and other parties, he writes in a letter to the Lower House.
The GGDs now use PCR tests, “the gold standard”, according to the minister. According to him, those tests are reliable, but it takes a while before the results are known.
De Jonge writes that RIVM is researching five existing antigen tests (rapid tests) and that he is optimistic about the potential. “If the results of this validation are positive, these tests can be a good addition to the testing policy by introducing ‘graduated’ tests in certain situations (first an antigen test and if it is positive then a PCR test).”
Rapid tests not only allow more people to be tested, but above all, people can also be tested more often, De Jonge writes. “This can yield a lot of social benefits.”
There is currently a shortage of testing capacity in laboratories to process the PCR tests. De Jonge says it is a temporary problem and that the test capacity will be in order within a few weeks.
He has concluded agreements with a number of foreign laboratories. “I expect that this will enable everyone with mild complaints to be tested quickly again from the beginning of October, but this partly depends on the development of the demand”, he writes to the House.
In anticipation of this, care and education personnel will be provided from Monday priority when testing. In order to reduce the pressure on testing capacity, the cabinet has also decided that children under the age of 13 should also register no longer having to have it tested if they have complaints such as a snot nose.
The Lower House is critical about the lack of testing capacity. On Tuesday, the House will debate the developments surrounding the corona virus.