Salvador IIla: "The departure of minors from Sunday is also a measure of equity"

The Minister of Health, who has appeared in the Health and Consumption Commission of the Congress, has indicated that he will approve an Order so that from next Sunday, April 26, this measure of relief from confinement will be possible.

"These controlled exits have multiple beneficial effects for minors, both physically and emotionally, especially for those who live in more vulnerable households, because not all households have the same conditions nor all lifestyles are the same. Therefore, this measure is also a measure of equity, "said Illa.

Seroprevalence study

The minister has given more details in his intervention in the National Epidemiological Study on Coronavirus Infection that will be carried out soon with the collaboration of the autonomous communities and which has been designed by the National Statistics Institute (INE) with him Carlos III Health Institute (ISCIII). "They will be in charge of providing the necessary health personnel to carry out the project and of adapting the study logistics in the way that is considered most appropriate in each territory," said Salvador Illa.

The objective of this study, for whose execution the role of Primary Care professionals is especially relevant, is to estimate in detail the real dimension of the epidemic in Spain: to know the prevalence of infection, both present and past, and to know the estimate of people who are already immunized.

In total, the INE has selected 36,000 homes, a minimum of 60,000 people will be analyzed and will cover the 50 provinces and the cities of Ceuta and Melilla. Households have been randomly selected. Each of them will receive a phone call to inform their residents about the objectives of the study, as well as request their consent and arrange a home visit, or an appointment at the health center. Participation in the study is voluntary.

The field work will be carried out in three waves over several weeks and each person will undergo two tests that are complementary due to the information they provide.

They will be given a rapid antibody test that will provide information to find out if the person has been infected. "The sensitivity of this test, which only requires a finger prick, is estimated to be greater than 80% but in very specific groups of patients. Therefore, to ensure the reliability of the results and apply maximum methodological rigor, the Experts have considered it highly recommended to obtain additional blood samples through venipuncture, "explained Illa.

Objective, does the highest number of PCR possible

The Minister of Health has also emphasized the importance of expanding the diagnostic capacity of COVID-19 and explained that currently more than one million PCRs have already been carried out in Spain. Salvador Illa has reported that in addition to the four Spanish companies that have already been validated to manufacture PCR kits, several studies are being carried out to validate three others so that they can start manufacturing extraction kits.

In addition, research centers and others that may offer themselves as analysis laboratories are being trained, together with the Ministry of Science and Innovation. So far, there are a total of 22 with the scientific knowledge to carry out these tests.

Likewise, we have worked with suppliers in the automation of PCR techniques, with the distribution of the reagents necessary to put up to 17 robots into operation in different hospitals in Spain, which is currently carrying out around 4,000 PCRs a day. "And finally, we are closing two commercial agreements with pharmaceutical companies to supply a significant additional amount of diagnostic tests," said Salvador Illa.

In a complementary way, antibody tests continue to be carried out and as of today, the minister announced, "one million more will begin to be distributed to the autonomous communities, in addition to the two million already delivered."

Bet on research

Salvador Illa has emphasized that the exit of this pandemic will come from the hand of the investigation and has taken stock of the initiatives launched so far. The Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products has already authorized 44 clinical trials on medicines, 12 of them during the last week, in which more than 28,000 people participate.
Along these same lines, he pointed out that "during the last week, the COVID-19 Fund, which coordinates the Ministry of Science and Innovation through the Carlos III Health Institute, has financed three new research projects. In total, there are already 18 projects financed for a total of 5.2 million euros of the 24 available ".

The first of the projects is coordinated by the Severo Ochoa Center for Molecular Biology, a joint center of the Higher Council for Scientific Research and the Autonomous University of Madrid, in collaboration with other institutions. Its objective is to use sampling equipment to locate the virus in the air in healthcare settings, such as hospitals and health centers. The second investigation is coordinated by the Aragonese Institute of Health Sciences and seeks an alternative to current diagnostic techniques.

And in the third investigation, led by the National Cancer Research Center and the Severo Ochoa Center for Molecular Biology, work is being done to develop a technology to amplify the genetic information of the virus more quickly.

Maximum prices for masks and gels

The minister has also informed the Health Commission of the publication today in the BOE of the price set by the Interministerial Commission on Drug Prices for surgical masks of 0.96 euros VAT included and 0.018 and 0.021 euros per milliliter for hydroalcoholic gels depending on the size of the container. "This decision has been adopted – the minister has indicated – based on a principle: the balance between the availability of the product in the market and non-abusive prices for the population."

The measure that comes into force tomorrow regulates the information that must be established on the labeling of hygienic masks: The efficiency of bacterial filtration, which must be greater than or equal to 90% and the breathability, which must be less than 60.

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