On Thursday, the High Authority for Health gave the green light for the deployment of saliva RT-PCR tests. They will be deployed on a large scale and in priority in schools, colleges and high schools, announced Prime Minister Jean Castex.
Saliva tests for everyone
To get tested for Covid-19, it will soon be possible to use a saliva RT-PCR test and no longer just a nasopharyngeal swab. This Thursday, the High Authority for Health (HAS) indeed issued an opinion in favor of the mass deployment of these tests to people without symptoms. Until now, they were reserved for people with symptoms of Covid-19 and those who could not bear the nasopharyngeal swab, such as Alzheimer’s patients or toddlers.
Unlike rapid tests, saliva RT-PCR tests will not be performed in a pharmacy, but analyzed in a medical biology laboratory after a self-sample of saliva. “These tests are not faster, but easier to take and much better tolerated,” said Dominique Le Guludec, president of the HAS. Today, the sensitivity of saliva tests is 85% on average and therefore exceeds the minimum required of 80% set by the HAS. However, they remain less effective than the tests carried out by nasopharyngeal swab.
Priority to schools
Traveling Thursday afternoon in a school on 13e district of Paris where saliva tests are experienced, Jean Castex welcomed the arrival of this “much less unpleasant technique” and “extremely promising”. “We have decided to deploy it first for children, in schools, colleges and high schools. It is a more fragile public, more reluctant to nasopharyngeal testing, “said the head of government, who also announced a target of” 200,000 tests per week, probably more “. “With this technique, we will still be able to strengthen epidemiological surveillance,” assured Jean Castex.