QCOSTARICA – Workers and educators, as well as private sector employers, could increase their productivity while improving health conditions, using rapid antigen tests through licensed private clinics and laboratories, if the concept were authorized.
These tests also serve entities located in rural areas, including tourist companies, where there is no access to the PCR test.
A rapid antigen test is both a fast and accessible procedure, and has a high degree of reliability.
The cost of each antigen test ranges from US$50 to US$55. The device indicates the presence or absence of the virus protein in one hour, after taking a sample through a nasal swab.
The cost of the PCR test is about US$100, though prices have come down in the last several weeks, as it requires specialized equipment, which implies a significant investment.
Sectors that could take advantage of the use of antigen testing to ensure the safety of activities of national importance include education, subjecting teachers to regular tests.
Hotels and other tourist activities would protect themselves against the risk of temporary closure due to contagion, by administering the test to their staff and thus guaranteeing a safe environment for visitors.
The manufacturing of essential products would be another potentially benefiting sector.
In each case, the private organization would finance the test, considering that the cost of carrying it out is reasonable, compared to the risk that its workers are infected.
The Costa Rican Chamber of Health and other actors in the health sector will be analyzing the issue with the health authorities, since for now the only entity authorized to administer antigen tests is the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS).
With rapid antigen testing, the State would benefit by strengthening contagion prevention actions, thanks to the support of private organizations with preventive and proactive testing programs.