It was talked about for a while. It is now done! Saliva test called EasyCov is now allowed to be reimbursed in France. This is what 20 Minutes announced after a decree released in Journal Officiel on January 5. Developed by Skill Cell - a Montpellier-based startup - in partnership with the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (French National Center for Scientific Research) - this test is a painless and quick test. Thanks to four drops of saliva only, EasyCov tells you if you are positive to Coronavirus or not.
But careful, do not rush to the closest pharmacy to get this saliva test. According to 20 Minutes, EasyCov is - so far - only available in laboratory, at your GP or at the hospital. Furthermore, it is only recommended for symptomatic people when nose swab is not possime or even difficult to complete.
Still according to 20 Minutes, the Ministry has not planned on ordering these saliva test but this reimbursement might open the door and encourage some professionals to get it, such as caregivers and some facilities.
So, how does it work? The doctor collects a bit of saliva from the patient and put the sample with the reagents at a temperature of 65°C for 30 minutes. The sample is then put in contact with a solution including a reagent changing color depending on if the virus is there or not. If the test turns orange, you are not infected by Covid-19, but if it turns yellow, it means you are positive and you need to consult your GP. A test already said to be reliable since it releases quite a few false positives with a 95.7% specificity and less than 30% false negative.
The rapidity and facility of use and reading the result are expected to widely improve Covid-19 screening tests. So far, this technic is based on a 180-person group, some already infected, others said to be not infected by the virus. Scientists hope to optimize “the sensitivity and specificity of EasyCov”. And it works, since this new test "enabled to show a pre-symptomatic case among caregivers" as our peers on BFMTV explain.
But, according to the Haute Autorité de Santé, "performances are satisfactory when it comes to clinical sensitivity (84%), but not satisfactory when it comes to clinical specificity (92%) in comparison with the least required performances (clinical sensitivity at 80%, and clinical specificity at 99%)".
As for the Skill Cell startup, they told 20 Minutes that their clinicla trial reached "sensitivity at 86% and specificity at 99%" naming results "beyond the most majority of antigenic tests".