The Public Health Agency of Sweden
Updated 13 May 2020

Testing, vaccination, and treatment

Testing, vaccination, and treatment

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    Testing for COVID-19 is always organised in accordance with regional and local guidelines. The Public Health Agency of Sweden recommends adults and school-aged children (including children in preschool class) with symptoms of COVID-19 to take a PCR test in order to find out if they have a current COVID-19 infection.

    Preschool-aged children should be tested in a situation where the number of cases is increasing locally.

    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: 9/2/2020 3:51:45 PM

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    There are two different types of tests for COVID-19. One test can show if you have a current infection and the other shows if you have had a COVID-19 infection and have developed antibodies.

    A PCR-test shows if you have an active coronavirus infection or have recently had an infection with COVID-19. This test detects the virus’s genetic material. The test is taken in the early stages of the infection.

    An antibody test shows if a person has previously been infected with COVID-19 and has developed antibodies in response to the virus. It can show if a person entirely or partly has developed a protection against COVID-19 after an infection. We recommend that antibody tests be taken by health care providers.

    There is a type of antibody self test available. It is taken and analysed by the individual at home. The Public Health Agency advises against using self tests for COVID-19.

    Updated: 9/2/2020 2:51:04 PM

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    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 PM

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    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 PM

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    Not everyone who has had COVID-19 develops 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: 9/2/2020 3:50:32 PM