Rapid antigen tests soon to be self-tests?

In many places in Germany you can be tested for corona using a rapid antigen test. Trained personnel still have to take the sample. Will everyone soon be able to do this themselves? There are hopes, but also some doubts

Finally visit my mother in the home again. Go to the family after months. Or work as a professional athlete. Corona rapid tests have recently found their way into many areas of life in Germany. Well trained staff have taken samples from the nasopharynx with long swabs from people willing to test a million times. Many people have paid for this themselves with private providers. But how reliable are the results? And is there a test for home use coming soon?

Where to get quick tests

Private individuals who want certainty without symptoms are increasingly finding commercial providers. Recently, it has also become possible for pharmacies to have trained staff carry out a quick test on customers' premises. According to the Federal Association of German Pharmacists' Associations (Abda), there is still no overview of how many pharmacies are already offering this nationwide.

After 15 to 30 minutes, rapid tests usually give the result: positive or negative. The prices vary. Self-tests for Corona are not yet possible in this country: The dispensing to laypeople is prohibited by the Medical Products Dispensing Ordinance, according to the Abda.

How safe are rapid tests?

Last week there were more alarm signs: "In the last few weeks we have seen outbreak scenarios in which false results from rapid antigen tests probably played a decisive role in the entry of the virus," said virologist Oliver Keppler from LMU Munich.

The President of the German Society for Epidemiology, Eva Grill, said: "I fear that a certain number of cases can also be traced back to false negative results of rapid tests, but the numbers are not yet easy to interpret."

If you want to understand the influence of rapid tests on the currently still high number of reports and the number of unreported cases, you would first have to know how much is tested with them. For example, how much of this is in nursing homes, where repeated use should be expanded? However, there are no nationwide statistics on this. Several large manufacturers also do not provide any sales figures on request, but speak of great demand.