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Parliamentary questions
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16 January 2021
Priority question for written answer  P-000226/2021
to the Commission
Rule 138
Milan Uhrík (NI)
 Subject: Commission opinion on comprehensive COVID-19 antigen testing using immunoassays

On 11 September 2020, the WHO published its interim guidance on the use of immunoassays to detect COVID-19. Manufacturers of antigen tests recommend the use of these tests regionally (in outbreaks) and in particular in individuals who have symptoms indicating a possible coronavirus infection. Despite these recommendations, two area-wide antigen tests were carried out in the Slovak Republic. These tests were carried out nationwide and were attended by almost all residents, as passing these tests was a condition for the free movement of people and for starting work. If antigen tests are used in low-prevalence situations, positive results should be verified by PCR tests, which did not happen in Slovakia and people had undergo compulsory quarantine. They could not even undergo control testing as this would violate the compulsory quarantine.

In light of the above:

1. In the Commission's view, is it appropriate to use antigen tests for population-wide testing and to conclude what restrictions to impose on the population only on the basis of the results of those tests?

2. Is the Commission also aware of Member States other than Slovakia that have carried out or plan to carry out comprehensive population testing using immunoassays?

3. Has a plan been approved at EU level for the joint purchase of antigen tests for Member States (similarly to the centralised purchase of vaccines)?

Original language of question: SK
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