Illa: "The objective of Healthcare is to maximize the performance of diagnostic tests for coronavirus in people with symptoms"

Regarding the latter "this week," he explained, "we have received a million of them who have a sensitivity of 80% after the person has been infected for 7 or more days, according to the analyzes carried out by the Carlos III Health Institute in patients that they have just started symptoms, the sensitivity is 64% ".

These rapid tests allow tests to be carried out in high-prevalence settings such as hospitals or residences, where there is a high probability of contagion, and to detect which people are infected if they test positive. If negative, they must perform a PCR. "Rapid tests detect an important part of positives, but those that give a negative require a PCR to rule out a false negative," said the minister.

Salvador Illa recalled that "the Carlos III Health Institute has worked, since the beginning of the pandemic, together with all the Spanish PCR companies to jointly validate the techniques, which has made it possible for health centers to be being able to carry out between 15,000 and 20,000 daily tests in Spain ".

And he added: "This figure places us among the countries that carry out the most tests and we continue working to expand national production capacity so that our country can even be self-sufficient if necessary."

In fact, the Carlos III Health Institute approved four companies last January so that they could carry out PCR with which they are working to activate their production.


Salvador Illa has reported that in the next few hours 50 respirators will be received from the German government and that today there will be more than 40 respirators from the Draeger company. To this is added that tomorrow, Friday, the company Hersill, from Móstoles, begins to produce respirators in an industrial way up to a total of 5,000 units in the coming weeks.
And in this same line, he stressed that "in the next few hours, everything indicates that SEAT, with the scientific help of the Hospital Clínic i Can Ruti, will be able to start its serial production of some 300 daily respirators of its own production and design."

Strengthening of professionals

The minister also highlighted the measures carried out in the area of ​​human resources to reinforce the staff of professionals. In particular, he referred to the Order approved on March 27, the objective of which is to increase the possibility of hiring healthcare personnel, with different measures.

These consist of: the extension of the hiring of residents in the last year of training, who will be entitled to a remuneration supplement in accordance with the functions performed; the suspension of the rotations of the residents so that they can provide services in those units in which reinforcement is required and the exceptional hiring measures for medical and non-medical personnel. This order expands the one approved on March 15, which has already enabled the hiring of 35,000 professionals and 17,000 final-year students for support tasks.

With this new measure, the different Autonomous Communities are offered the possibility of hiring a total of 17,560 higher technicians in Auxiliary Nursing Care, second-year students of Middle Level Training Cycles of Health Professional Training who have completed their studies and are pending the issuance of the title. And also more than 9,500 professionals from different specialized health training degrees, who took selective tests this year to obtain a place as a resident, provided they have passed the minimum score in the year.

Salvador Illa has indicated that "these last professionals, who could occupy their place in the coming months, once the administrative award process is completed, on a temporary basis, may be hired from today for a temporary period of three months, extendable for periods of others three, their temporary employment relationship will terminate once their position is awarded. "

On the other hand, measures have also been taken aimed at reinforcing the workforce of senior centers with exceptional criteria for the recruitment or reincorporation of personnel. "We have already approved a total of two orders and a protocol, which shows our concern about the operation of social services and, in particular, those that concern a vulnerable group such as the elderly," stressed the minister.

Increased production capacity

Regarding the distributed material, in total there have been 16,554,815 masks, 16,373,100 nitrile gloves, 92,624 disposable and waterproof gowns, 83,938 divers, 135,191 protective glasses, 142,200 hydroalcoholic solutions and 408,371 materials such as leggings, aprons, sleeve covers, hats, etc. In the coming days, other important games are expected to arrive, which will also be distributed.

In addition to purchasing, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Industry have been working to increase the national production capacity in order to have a strategic reserve of key products, in three fundamental lines: supporting Spanish manufacturers of essential products to increase its production capacity; reorient the activity of related sectors and increase the technology park developing new capabilities.

Thus, in terms of protective equipment, the increase in production of several national manufacturers that were already producing has been promoted and the reorientation of other manufacturers from related sectors. Regarding assisted breathing equipment, work is being done together with the two manufacturers nationwide to multiply their production capacity by five in a very short time. In addition, there are very powerful engineering teams that are working on innovative product development in Catalonia and Andalusia.

Ongoing investigations

The Ministry of Health is also developing different lines to favor and support research work on the coronavirus, which will allow its results to be applied to patients as soon as possible. Thus, through the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products, work is being carried out at the national and international level in the investigation of medicines, both new and already approved for other uses, which can be effective in different stages of infection.
As of today, 13 clinical trials have been approved and 98 applications are being evaluated. "One of those approved this week, promoted by the Ministry of Health, specifically from the National Plan on AIDS, will evaluate the efficacy to prevent the spread of the coronavirus with antiretroviral drugs used for the treatment of HIV." In addition, Spain participates, with 40 hospitals and 9 autonomous communities, since yesterday, one day, in the international study Solidarity promoted by the World Health Organization.
Salvador Illa added that "jointly with the Ministry of Science, and through the Carlos III Health Institute, we are urgently promoting, coordinating and financing the investigation of new forms of treatment." Specifically, in the last week, two new projects have been financed that seek to find a treatment in early stages to prevent patients from worsening and requiring mechanical ventilation. "In addition, the study to measure the efficacy and safety of treating patients with plasma obtained from patients who have overcome the disease is very encouraging," said the minister.

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