This April 22, 2021 during the press brief, Jean Castex announced that 400,000 weekly saliva tests will be taken starting next week (namely April 26 - Editor's note) in elementary schools. "We'll focus this testing system to departments the incidence is the highest", the PM added.
Furthermore, still during the brief, Minister of the Education Jean-Michel Blanquer said the government expects to increase the deployment to reach 600,000 saliva tests taken by week by mid-May. For your information, these saliva tests apply to pupils, junior high schoolers, but high shcoolers will have to take self-tests once a week starting May 3, when schools physically reopen for them.
For the record, saliva tests to dected coronavirus have been allowed since September 18, 2020 but still not used in France. The French National Authority for Health (HAS) issued a public release stating 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".
In September, the HAS was not recommending 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.
The evolution has changed since then. On January 22, 2021, HAS committee has delivered a positive report as for the efficacy of detecting Covid-19 from a saliva sample. According to the meta-assessment led by the organization, saliva tests are 85% sensitive against 90% for nose swabs.
In Le Monde, Lisa Alter is enthusiast. "By stoppingthe invasive and painful - for some people - constraint, we shall be able to lead mass testing campaigns with better accepted iterative swabs" the head of HAS public medical, economical and health assessment hopes.
The report from the HAS says that a Covid-19 positive test is trustworthy, whether this test demands a nose swab or saliva. The loss of sensitivity between saliva tests and nose swabs is satisfactory, even in asymptomatic patients.