COVID-19 antibody ‘’self-tests” no longer banned in Belgium

In the context of the global pandemic, the Belgian Competent Authority FAMHP decided not to prolong the ban on the usage of ‘’at-home tests’’ - detecting antibodies against the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) - that was in place since March 2020.

The FAMHP expects prompt availability of compliant ‘’at-home tests’’, it warns of high risk of misinterpretation of the results. This is also due to the method, which is different, i.e. analyzing a small blood sample obtained by fingerstick, compared to those tests analyzed by laboratories.  If the citizens nevertheless decide to purchase ‘’at-home tests’’, the FAMHP urges to purchase them from trusted sources (pharmacies), as counterfeit products circulate on the internet.


Interpreting the results

Positive result:

Furthermore, the FAMPH warns that ‘’at-home tests’’ are not fully reliable and a positive result can also mean a false positive result – the test, for ex. , might have detected antibodies against some other cold virus. Nevertheless, the FAMHP advises:

"Make sure you strictly follow preventative measures: keep your distance, wear a face mask when recommended and wash your hands regularly with soap and water. You should also contact your doctor to confirm the test result".

Moreover, the FAMHP warns that a positive result cannot guarantee that a person is immune and can no longer become infected.

Negative result:

As in the above case, this can be again a false negative result, for ex. because antibodies are too few to be detected, due to a recent infection.

The FAMHP urges that in case you are experiencing cold symptoms, you should assume you have COVID, despite the negative result of ‘’at-home testing’’ and respect the above FAMHP advice.


Ajda Mihelcic

DPM of Publications Department & Content Manager of MDlaw.eu

15/10/2020


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References:

FAMHP (24/09/2020). Coronavirus: at-home antibody tests are no longer banned, but the FAMHP warns against misinterpreting the result. Retrieved on 15/10/20 from https://www.famhp.be/en/news/coronavirus_at_home_antibody_tests_are_no_longer_banned_but_the_famhp_warns_against.