Do you know what Covid test you need to take to travel this summer?

Depending on the patient’s profile, different types of tests can be carried out before leaving for a safer vacation.

Nasopharyngeal sample collection.

The coronavirus incidence data, which continue to drop every week, and the good pace of vaccination raise a increasingly optimistic forecast of the pandemic. Although the security measures to which, on the other hand, we are already accustomed, such as social distance and the use of a mask, must continue to be maintained, it is also true that the improvement in the situation in recent weeks has encouraged many people to enjoy the summerto visit relatives or to travel.

For the holidays, some areas require certify the absence of Covid of travelers, and depending on the place it may be necessary to present a PCR or an antigen test will suffice. In others, a vaccination certificate or proof that the virus has already been overcome may be sufficient. Quirónprevención, the occupational risk prevention company of Quirónsalud offers all kinds of Covid-19 tests to the general population, as many people also take these tests before visiting their loved ones to spend a safer vacation. The recommendation to perform one test or another will depend on the situation and profile of the patient.

PCR or PCR in saliva

PCR continues to be the reference test to diagnose Covid-19, since it allows detecting the virus with great precision (it has a sensitivity of 95%), even in asymptomatic patients. It is a very sensitive system. being able to detect very low amounts of virus. However, by itself it does not differentiate the stage of the disease in which the patient may be”, explains Juan Pedro Portell, director of the Occupational Health Area of ​​Quirónprevención.

It is the most recommended and reliable test before making a trip, because we would confirm the existence of an active infection. In the event of a positive result, the individual is considered capable of infecting others and must quarantine until the test returns a negative result.

Sometimes PCR is a dreaded test, since taking the sample can be quite annoying and even painful for some people, however, there is a alternative that is PCR in saliva. The only difference between both tests is the sample analyzed, since the analysis process is the same. A little saliva is deposited in a jar or salivette to send later to the laboratory, a much simpler procedure and that even allows patients themselves to perform the test at homeavoiding trips to the health center.

Antigen test

Antigen tests can be as effective as PCR and their main advantage is that deliver results in 15-20 minutes. Sampling is identical to PCR, but these tests only detect the protein that covers the genetic material of the virus, which is easier to detect in the initial phase of contagion, so this type of test is more useful in patients with symptoms.

Serological analysis

The above tests detect the presence of the virus in the body by identifying its genetic material, while blood tests look for antibodies generated against the virus. In this way, the serological analysis will be the test that we must do if we want to know if we have passed the infection and developed an immune response to the virus. Although “a small percentage of patients (around 2-5%) do not develop antibodies, probably having eliminated the virus through a cellular immune response,” adds Portell.

Also exist rapid diagnostic tests that detect antibodies with a small blood sample -obtained after a small puncture- and although they offer results in a few minutes, these tests are much less sensitive.

Post-vaccination test

It is also possible know the immune response produced by the vaccine approximately three weeks after receiving the last dose “by performing a quantitative antibody test (specific antibodies against the S protein of the virus are identified). However, the percentage of people who after vaccination develop antibodies against COVID-19 depends on the effectiveness of each vaccine”, clarifies the director of Occupational Health of Quirónprevención.

The test consists of a conventional blood draw for which it is not necessary to go fasting. It must be taken into account that this test does not determine in any case if the individual is infected or if the disease has already passed, it only can confirm to those vaccinated if they have developed immunity against Covid-19.

What proofs are needed to travel from Spain?

Currently, to travel within Spain There are only restrictions to travel to the Canary or Balearic Islands, but only to tourists who come from areas with a cumulative incidence greater than 60 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. In these cases, a negative PCR test or antigen test must be presented, a document that will not be required from travelers who can prove that they have had the disease (through a serological test, for example) or that they have been vaccinated in the 15 days prior to your trip.

To travel outside of Spain, restrictions depend on each country. For example, in Germany, quarantine must be kept if you come from areas classified as risky such as Madrid, the Basque Country or Andalusia, while in the United Kingdom all Spanish passengers must keep a 10-day quarantine. To travel to France, Italy or Portugal, a PCR or antigen test is necessary, but countries such as Denmark, Mexico or Costa Rica do not have restrictions at the moment.

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