State to control antigen test prices and purchase antivirals from Pfizer

Sánchez supports the thesis of coronavirus influenza spread

2 min
An antigen test

MadridThe President of the Spanish government, Pedro Sánchez, has announced this Monday that he will control the prices of antigen tests, as was done with masks. In an interview with Cadena SER, the head of the state executive has committed to act to lower the cost of these diagnostic tests, which citizens are forced to buy at their own in pharmacies. "The debate we had before or during the Christmas holidays has been, above all, about the supply of tests: there was an exponential increase in demand but not in supply. This issue has been resolved and now we will get down to controlling the price of antigen tests," he said.

With the aim of not saturating primary care centers, autonomous treatment of mild infections with omicron has been established, as far as possible, along the lines of what happens with other diseases such as influenza. With vaccination at an advanced stage, Sanchez also announced that this January the State will purchase 344,000 doses of oral antivirals being manufactured by Pfizer. According to the Spanish President, this treatment can reduce by 88% the hospitalisations of people with previous risk factors who have been infected with coronavirus.

In recent days, the debate has grown over whether coronavirus can be treated as a flu if it is confirmed that the dominant variant is not as serious as the previous ones. Sánchez has endorsed the flu theory. "We have the conditions so that, little by little, we may begin to evaluate the evolution of the disease with different parameters to those we have used so far," said the Socialist leader, who stressed that right now covid lethality is 1%.

Sánchez also said that the Ministry of Health and the European Centre for the Prevention of Infectious Diseases are already addressing this new scenario of coexistence with the disease. Although some measures derived from the pandemic may change in the near future, for the time being the use of masks will continue, and the Spanish President has defended that they should continue to be worn outdoors.

"Safe" return to the classroom

This Monday, students have returned to schools and universities and Sánchez has assured that attendance is "safe". Last week the public health commission, which brings together the Ministry of Health and regional governments, decided that the youngest children would only have to quarantine in the event that more than five positives were detected in their class. The Spanish President has announced that before the end of this month a new meeting of the Conference of Regional Presidents would be held online to deal with the sixth wave and in February a face-to-face meeting will be held on the island of La Palma, as planned.

Sánchez has predicted that this January the peak of the sixth wave will be reached and, subsequently, the curve of contagions will go down. The Moncloa forecasts that on February 7, 70% of children will have received the first dose of the vaccine and on April 18 they will have the complete schedule. The Spanish President celebrated the fact that Spain is responding to the call for vaccination, unlike other countries where anti-vaxxers are more widespread. Thus, he assured that it is not necessary to "harm" people who do not want to be vaccinated, as Emmanuel Macron wants to do in France.