"Rapid, high-precision molecular tests that will give results in 10 minutes will soon be available to hospitals," said Athanassios Tsakris, Professor of Microbiology and Director of the Microbiology Laboratory at the Athens Medical School, in an interview with the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) released on Wednesday. Tsakris is also a member of the health ministry's Committee of Experts for the novel coronavirus.
The professor said that the molecular tests will be extended to patients with mild symptoms being treated at home, through health centres that will soon be opening exclusively for the treatment of coronavirus cases, but also through regional authorities because, as he said, at the current stage of the epidemic, it is important that these patients can be tested for free, through public health structures.
He stressed that the timely action taken by Greece has helped slow the onset of an epidemic wave, so that there is only a gentle rise in positive tests. But at the same time, he admitted that there is still a long way to go. "Nothing has been determined yet. There is a need to drastically limit social contact and maintain distances to minimise infection chains," he underlined.
On the issue of immunity, Tsakris said that the scientific community is still unable to say how protective the antibodies developed by the infection are, how long they remain in the body and whether they will continue to protect us against possible mutations of the virus. "It is also unclear if those who have mild symptoms or are asymptomatic develop immunity," he added.