Brazil’s federal health regulator Anvisa has approved the emergency use of Covid self-testing kits in the country. The decision creates an exception, as Brazil doesn’t allow self-tests for any disease of which cases must be reported to the authorities.
The decision will not have any immediate effect, as each company hoping to sell its self-testing kits in Brazil must apply for authorization from Anvisa, which will analyze each case individually.
While multiple countries see self-testing kits as an effective way to monitor the spread of the coronavirus and allow people to isolate themselves quicker, their approval in Brazil raises many questions about how results will be monitored.
According to the rules voted on by regulators, positive diagnoses from these kits will not be considered as confirmed cases. Instead, authorities will recommend that people seek medical attention and take a more accurate RT-PCR test. If people don’t do that, Brazil’s official case numbers would almost certainly be vastly undercounted.
Parts of the U.S. are already struggling with inconsistent monitoring, which prevents authorities from having an accurate sense of Covid prevalence.
Brazil’s seven-day average of new daily cases continues to break records every day, with over 500,000 confirmed infections between Wednesday and Thursday alone.