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Rapid Covid-19 Tests May Be a ‘Free Transit’ for Normalcy | Opinion

The vaccine is the best bet for beating the covid-19 pandemic and we continue to have reason to believe that this will be a reality in the near future. Until then, however, it’s important to diversify strategies and not lose sight of other solutions that can make a difference immediately.

Right now – in addition to maintaining respect for mask use, hygiene care and physical distancing rules – the best candidates to come up with short-term solutions, allowing us to mitigate further escalations of contagion and to ensure a near return to normal, are the rapid tests for the coronavirus.

Imagine a low-cost kit, accessible to everyone, usable daily at home by anyone and guaranteeing reliable results in less than 20 minutes. What could such a solution represent, once massified, for companies, for schools, for public services in general? What possibilities would it open up for cultural offers, sporting events, nightclubs, commercial aviation?

Recently, there has been a lot of debate, especially in Portugal, the famous mobile phone application that would monitor positive cases of covid-19. But the truth is, without much higher percentages of citizens tested, this technology will still have limited value.

A while ago, testing the population en masse and systematically seemed impractical. It would be much less realistic to imagine that this could be done by the citizens themselves, like any other daily routine, in a kind of check-in before the start of their activities. But that is precisely what is currently on the table.

The United Kingdom has just announced an investment of around 550 million euros for the research and development of these covid-19 kits. In the United States, reputable epidemiologists have called for similar measures from the federal government, which may well announce them soon. In the European Union, we must also examine this possibility very carefully.

I admit that I have never liked the slogan “Everything will be fine” which accompanied this pandemic. It will be “very good” if we do not let our guard down and if we are more and more able to anticipate problems and be proactive in finding solutions.

Earlier this week, the PSD delegation to the European Parliament sent a letter to the European Commissioner for Science and Innovation, Mariya Gabriel, asking her what initiatives the Union has underway regarding these tests. And urge the European Commission, if it hasn’t already, to invest in research and development aimed at evaluating the effectiveness and reliability of the tests and their possible widespread dissemination.

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As citizens’ representatives, we all have an obligation – European authorities, Member State governments, MEPs and nationals – not to waste opportunities.

I admit that I never liked the slogan “Everything will be fine” which accompanied this pandemic. And I didn’t like it because it suggests that things will work out for you. It will be “very good” if we do not let our guard down and if we are increasingly able to anticipate problems and be proactive in finding solutions.

The author writes under the new spelling contract

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