A million coronavirus tests remain unused on shelves of laboratories and suppliers. The tests were meant to be used after the introduction of widespread testing on June 1, but fewer people took the tests than expected.
Of the 1.5 million available tests, only half a million have been used. The maximum capacity of 30,000 daily tests has not been reached, reports NOS.
Should there be a more active testing policy?
Some experts believe that the presence of such a big stock of unused tests is a good opportunity to pursue a more active testing policy.
According to Frits Rosendaal, head of clinical epidemiology at the LUMC, “There are actually two groups that you just want to actively test. The first is the group of people where the consequences of infection are greatest, such as at slaughterhouses or nursing homes. The other group is the one where the risk of the virus is greatest. This applies, for example, to the contacts of people who come into the picture through source and contact research. After all, you know that the chance that they have the virus is greater than with random other people.”
Another option for testing involves travellers, according to Rosendaal. “They come here with planes and are spreading again, and may have been in regions with a lot of contamination, but you don’t know where they are going either.”
Hans Heesterbeek, professor of epidemiology at Utrecht University, considers even more applications. “You can also routinely test in places where many people come together and where there is a lot of interaction. You can also test people who have many contacts with other people because of their work or activities.”
Not everyone agrees for a more active testing policy, such as Marc Bonten from UMC Utrecht. “We heard this week that only 12% of people with complaints actually get tested. That should actually be 98%. It probably makes more sense to strive for better compliance with current agreements than to broaden the criteria for testing.”
Bert Niesters from UMC Groningen also agrees that the tests should be preserved. “They will not get over the date quickly and in the autumn we expect many people with colds again. I would save the tests for when you really need them again.”
Whatever the case, the RIVM is already preparing up to 100,000 daily tests for autumn, when many people will report cold symptoms.
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