With the demand for Covid-19 tests skyrocketing in Brazil during January, results of RT-PCR exams in the city of São Paulo are taking twice as long to be delivered to patients. Where tests were previously available with a promised 48 to 72-hour turnaround, exam results can now take up to seven days.
Major private labs in the city have already admitted that receiving results within two days is all but impossible. In some cases, patients face hour-long lines simply to schedule test collections.
The spread of the Omicron variant has caused a test kit shortage nationwide, while authorities advise that only patients with moderate to severe symptoms should be tested.
Meanwhile, health regulator Anvisa is in talks with the Health Ministry to approve the use of lateral flow tests in Brazil, which may be administered at home. As things stand, self-testing for infectious diseases is illegal in the country.