Coronavirus: the French National Authority for Health validates the use of saliva tests

Published by Laurent P., Rizhlaine F. · Published on 19 September 2020 at 09h39 · Updated on 21 September 2020 at 10h08
This Friday September 18, the French National Authority for Health has allowed the use of saliva tests for coronavirus to people showing symptoms. These tests for coronavirus are said to arrive "by October", Delfraissy says.

Saliva tests to detect coronavirus now allowed... This is what the French National Authority for Health (HAS) has announced this Friday September 18, 2020 in a press release, adding that only people showing symptoms could be tested that way. The goal if implementing these saliva tests is to "make samples easier, reducing contamination risks for the healthcare staff and be less unpleasant for patients" the HAS explains in a post following the press release. A method said to make coronavirus test easier in "symptomatic people for whom nose swab is complicated, even impossible".

Yet, the HAS does not recommend this virus dectecting screen test for people not showing symptoms for who "we would miss over 75%" of the infections, HAS college president Dominique Le Guludec explains in a digital press conference. The PCR remains the test the most used to detect the virus.

Assessed in the Paris area and in French Guiana, this method is said to show "a very good specific feature and a sensitivity around 80%, which is enough" professor Delfraissy said on September 15 at the Senate.

Instead of nose swab, this approach could enable to detect Covid-19 from a saliva sample. You would only have to spit in a cup. Yet, we still have to know if the results of the tests are quicker to get, because the current testing strategy is leading to traffic jam in laboratories. One of the solution considered consists in antigenic screen tests that are quick tests only requiring 15 to 20 minutes. This fast screen test, currently developed in Ile-de-France by the AP-HP, yet requires a nose swab.

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