Testing, vaccination, and treatment
Testing, vaccination, and treatment
Who should be tested for a current COVID-19 infection?
Testing for COVID-19 is always organised in accordance with regional and local guidelines. The Public Health Agency of Sweden recommends everyone with symptoms of COVID-19 to take a test in order to find out if they have a current COVID-19 infection. We also recommend testing to take place in cases of contact tracing or screening. The test should be taken even if you don’t have any symptoms of COVID-19.
In a situation where the number of suspected cases exceeds the capacity of healthcare services for testing, a special prioritisation is recommended. For more information: Provtagningsindikation för covid-19 (in Swedish).
The Government has commissioned the Public Health Agency of Sweden to produce a national strategy for increased testing and analysis of COVID-19 (in Swedish), with more information about the recommendations regarding testing.
Updated: 6/26/2020 12:44:28 PMOpen in new tab
How do you monitor the prevalence of COVID-19 in the community?
The Public Health Agency is doing a survey in Stockholm to assess the level of COVID-19 in the community. In early April, approximately 4000 people were asked if they wanted to participate by providing samples. Participation is voluntary.
This survey is one way of gathering information about the number of people in the community infected with COVID-19. Since people with mild symptoms are asked to stay at home, mainly patients with severe symptoms are being tested when admitted to hospital.
It is not possible to sign up for this survey. Participants are randomly selected from the Public Health Agency's regular survey panel. Results are expected in early May. A similar, smaller survey has been done previously in Stockholm.
More information is available here (in Swedish).
Updated: 5/13/2020 1:26:41 PMOpen in new tab
Are there tests showing if you have had COVID-19?
So-called serological tests are being developed. They detect antibodies in the blood and can be used in order to find out if a person has had an infection with the new coronavirus. There are no reliable tests of this kind available yet. When they become available, they will primarily be used for testing healthcare and social care staff.
Serological tests are not useful during the acute illness, since they only, after some time of infection, detect whether someone has, or has had COVID-19.
Updated: 5/13/2020 1:27:49 PMOpen in new tab
Is there a vaccine or any other treatment against COVID-19?
There is currently no vaccine and no approved medicine against COVID-19. Any treatment given in severe cases of illness serves to support the patient’s lungs and other internal organs.
Research on pharmacological treatments and a vaccine against COVID-19 is conducted ongoing in Sweden and internationally. The Swedish Medical Products Agency collaborates with its European and global counterparts in these efforts.
Updated: 5/13/2020 1:31:16 PMOpen in new tab
- Why are we testing staff in essential services for COVID-19?
How do you know if your work is an essential service?
Employers and commissioning parties will assess whether their activity constitutes an essential service and inform staff of arrangements for testing in the workplace.
The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) has produced definitions of essential services in the context of COVID-19. They have also produced guidance for employers and commissioning parties to help them assess whether or not their activity is classed as an essential service.
Updated: 7/13/2020 12:50:21 PMOpen in new tab
I’ve tested positive for antibodies. What are the implications?
For anyone who has no symptoms, the presence of IgG antibodies means they are less at risk of being infected and thus, there is less of a risk that they will pass on the infection to other people.
If you have no symptoms, a positive test result allows you greater opportunities to socialise with other people, even if you are in an at-risk group or are aged 70 or over. In the first place, this could mean socialising with people you are close to, such as friends and family, both indoors and outside.
We must each always make our own individual assessment of the situation and continue to follow the general recommendations for reducing the spread of infection in the community:
- Stay at home if you are feeling unwell.
- Wash your hands regularly. The virus can be transferred to your hands when you touch things. Therefore, you should wash your hands often. That will get rid of the virus. This reduces the risk of the infection being spread.
- Maintain a physical distance from people outside your social circle.
- At work: Follow guidelines and recommendations in relation to personal protective equipment and hygiene procedures in health and medical care and social care.
To produce reliable results, antibody tests need to be extremely effective. When undergoing an antibody test, it is important to consider its intended use. The person carrying out the test must provide you with information about the implications of your test result.
Updated: 7/13/2020 12:50:53 PMOpen in new tab
Is it possible to have had COVID-19 but not have antibodies?
Not everyone who have had COVID-19 develop antibodies. There will be some who develop antibodies, while others do not develop antibodies but instead an immune response through the T cells. Those who have developed antibodies are most probably protected for six months after having received the test result. It is not yet clear what a T cell response to the virus that causes COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) means in terms of protection against reinfection, and research is ongoing.
Analysing T cell responses to COVID-19 is more complicated than analysing antibodies. For the time being, therefore, this is not being done routinely for individuals but only for research purposes.
Updated: 7/16/2020 7:43:55 PMOpen in new tab