April 14, 2021

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When to do the molecular test to detect the presence of COVID-19?

As soon as the president of the House of Representatives, Carlos “Johnny” Méndez, announced that he was positive for the coronavirus, other politicians from the leadership of the New Progressive Party (PNP), including the candidate for governor, Pedro Pierluisi, and the resident commissioner, Jenniffer González, rushed out to get tested.

But this practice, not very accessible to "normal people," is not recommended, said the president of the Association of Clinical Laboratories, Dr. Juan E. Rexach. It is that it is assumed that the sample for a molecular test is performed four or five days after being in contact with an infected person .

He explained that the molecular test is performed to detect the presence of the virus. He said that the more time passes, the more the virus invades the respiratory system.

Studies indicate, however, that “when the virus is in greater quantity in the nose and throat it is on day four and five. It is related to the symptoms, which appear in an average of 5.6 days. ”

He specified that, for this reason,“ the best day to do a molecular test is on day four of exposure or five, when the symptoms begin to appear. symptoms. ”

He indicated that if a few days of the approach with an infected person are registered or several days pass after the symptoms begin to appear, it may be that the virus is not present in the nose and the test gives a false positive.

“The limitation that I have with the molecular test is that. If I put the ‘swab’ where it wasn’t, it’s negative, if it wasn’t time, it’s negative, "he explained.

For example, Rexach detailed if the contact with the infected person was on Sunday, yesterday, Tuesday was not the day to do the test, as most politicians did.

"The probability negative is higher, "he said.

“If you have symptoms, that's what it is. That is the perfect day to get tested ”, he pointed out.

These dates are also important due to the shortage of reagents to process the tests.

The laboratory leader indicated that the Roche company has informed them that They only have the capacity to process 11,000 weekly tests.

He stated that this scarcity is what causes that “an ordinary and normal human being does not have that access to obtain the test. Only one is complicated, imagine two. ”

On the other hand, Rexach indicated that the problems with the bioportal of the Department of Health to report the positive and negative cases that they process continue. This despite the fact that last week they attended a meeting at the agency.

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