The questions that everyone asks about the tests for footballers

Five footballers and two components of the technical staff of the FC
Barcelona generated antibodies Covid-19, as RAC 1 advanced, as a result of the first virus detection tests carried out at the request of The league. What does that mean? What type of test is performed to find out if a person has an active virus or which one should be applied if the virus has already left and to know that it is gone? What advantages and disadvantages does each test have? To try to find answers to these generic questions with an educational message for lay people, MD contacted Sergi Villatoro, doctor in cell biology from the University of

and Technical Director of FagronGenomics Laboratory, which currently performs Test
Rapid for the detection of Covid-19 and soon with the call PCR.

Does the scientific community know much more now than two months ago about Covid-19?

Much more. You have to think that in December, until the virus appeared in Wuhan, nobody knew anything. Much progress has been made in a few months, also because thanks to publications in scientific journals, and despite the fact that competition exists, the information circulates and is fed back with new complementary information.

Is there synergy in the scientific community to warp Covid-19?

Science is like a huge forum. In this particular case we are talking about the role that we play. For example, in my case I am a doctor in cell biology, and biochemists, biotechnologists, doctors of different specialties come into play, from the bedside doctor who is in the ambulatory to the virologist and the epidemiologist …

Is there one more reliable test than another?

In fact, what there are are complementary tests to each other, covering the range of possible information.

The PCR, what does it tell us and what are its pros and cons?

The PCR detects the presence of viruses from the first moment, even if they are very low amounts. It is performed on respiratory samples, nose and pharynx. It is the test that tells us if a person has the virus, from the first moment one becomes infected until the virus is no longer in the body. When it has already been removed, the PCR would not detect the presence of Covid-19. But for that there are other tests.

What is the main advantage of the quick test?

Unlike PCR, the rapid test detects not the presence of the virus, but the antibodies that show that the person has lived with Covid-19 and has generated an immune response. Since the antibodies are not created until at least the fifth day after infection, in this case the complement to the rapid test would be PCR. To understand us, PCR measures the presence of the virus while it is present, but not when it is no longer there. In order to know if we have “passed” the rapid test, it adequately informs us, revealing the presence of antibodies with a high degree of sensitivity. Putting a practical example: if the person passed the virus 60 days ago, the PCR will not tell us, but the rapid test will warn us through the presence of antibodies.

Sergi Villatoro, PhD in Cell Biology and Technical Director of the FagronGenomics Laboratory
Sergi Villatoro, PhD in Cell Biology and Technical Director of the FagronGenomics Laboratory

Why is it called a quick test?

It is the name by which everyone knows it. The answer is obvious: it only takes 15 minutes to know if you have antibodies with a simple blood sample.

Are there any more tests?

One also very common is the ELISA Test. Like ‘the rapid one’, it also detects if there are antibodies and, therefore, if the person tested is tested within the first days after infection, from the fifth to the seventh, they would not identify them.


CHow long does it take to get a result according to each test?

If the rapid test is obtained, only in 15 minutes, in the ELISA Test we would leave within a few hours once the sample enters the laboratory. As for the PCR it would be the slowest, but during the same day or the next you would also have the results.

Soccer players are very controlled with this spectrum of tests. Does that theoretically greatly lower your risk of infection?

If the tests are constant and cover all possibilities, the risk would be very low. To understand us, where the rapid test did not arrive, the PCR would arrive and vice versa. Due to time and due to the frequent vigilance provided by the tests, the footballer is sensitively protected with respect to other sectors of society.

Who has antibodies is safe?

If you have already passed the Covid-19, it generates a kind of specific defenses against the virus. What science says today is that if you no longer have the virus in your body you are no longer an infectious agent. The immune system is amazing.

What is the main function of your laboratory?

Genetics and pharmacogenetics. We study the genetic profile of people trying to determine what type of drugs adapt to each one.

Will that also apply to Covid-19 and other viruses?

The genetic factors that make us different can also influence the way we experience infection and the development of the disease. Why is one asymptomatic and another person die? In addition to pre-existing associated ailments, there may be a genetic origin. It is a field to explore in the coming months.

Is the vaccine dated?

It won't take too long, I think. But in science, going a year or so is already going very, very fast. Going fast or slow in science is not governed by the criteria we all have on the street.