Covid-19: self-tests deployed this week for teachers

Unlike PCR tests, they are not obnoxious. However, these tests are not a key to forgetting any barrier gesture.

In the absence of vaccines reserved for teachers under 55 and adults in contact with students, self-tests are deployed in large numbers in the National Education. With the start of the school year on April 26, all teachers and adults working in primary schools and kindergartens have the right to two self-tests per week. Some 65 million of these devices have been ordered by the State, announced the Prime Minister, Jean Castex, after an initial order of 5 million units from two manufacturers, Biosynex and AAZ. The South Korean manufacturer SDBiosensor, distributed by Roche, is one of the newly elected.

Self-tests are antigenic tests with a nasal swab, using a swab to push 3 to 4 centimeters into one of the nostrils and to rotate five times. Unlike PCR tests, they are not unpleasant because the tip of the cotton swab is bulkier and sinks less far inside the nose. The result is then “read” directly in about fifteen minutes on a plastic case, after having poured a few drops of a liquid on the sample.

Repeat the test

However, these tests are not a key to forgetting any barrier gesture. They are reliable if they are positive (only 1% of people declared positive by mistake), but can be false negative for many reasons: the intrinsic reliability of the test (around 70% for asymptomatic people), poor sampling or an error in its realization.

On the other hand, repeating the test makes it possible to compensate for its lower performance. For them to be effective and to significantly limit transmissions, it is necessary that three quarters of the target audience use them once or twice a week, estimated the Scientific Council in a recent opinion.

In the event of a positive result, the adult must isolate himself, announce the result to the director of the establishment and verify it by a more reliable PCR test in a biology laboratory.

No more age limit

For the students, PCR saliva tests have been set up since the start of the winter vacation. If they are very reliable and well accepted by families (the signed agreement of one of the parents is necessary), the results are obtained in one or two days. National Education plans to achieve 400,000 per week, with a rise to reach 600,000. A figure to be compared with the 6.7 million children enrolled in primary and kindergarten in France. At best, each child will only be able to benefit from one test by the end of the school year …

The self-tests will be distributed from May 3 to 2.2 million high school students over 15 years old and young people in technical or vocational training. And the 3.4 million college students will finally be able to benefit from it, because the High Authority of Health proposed on April 26 to the government to withdraw the age limit of 15 years. In Austria, self-tests are allowed from the age of 10. In Great Britain, it is from 6 years old, using a specific and safe brand (Lepu Medical) which is not one of the twelve self-tests authorized in France.

In addition, the HAS specified that it still did not authorize saliva samples for rapid antigenic tests, because of insufficient performance.


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