Coronavirus: five questions about rapid blood tests coming soon

the essential
A list of 23 blood tests with guaranteed reliability has just been released. A first necessary step before the massive arrival on the Trod market, rapid diagnostic orientation tests, which will allow to know if one has been reached from Covid-19 in a few minutes. Explanations.

The Rapid Diagnostic Orientation Tests (Trod) are performed on a drop of blood, obtained by a prick at the fingertip. The drop is absorbed by capillary action on a strip. A chemical reaction then achieves the result, in a few minutes, with the naked eye.

Trods are already used for HIV, strep throat, hepatitis B and C or even syphilis. These are unit tests, which differ from automated tests, requiring a technical platform to analyze the samples. However, all are based on the same principle: the search for immunoglobulins, antibodies directed against the virus in the blood.

  • What is their interest?

These rapid tests make it possible to determine in a few minutes whether the person has been in contact with the Covid-19 or not, in a recent period. This can therefore sometimes avoid an unnecessary visit to his doctor. In the event of a positive result, the speed of execution of the test will also make it possible to go up the chain of contamination more quickly.

“We are not sure, for the moment, of being really immune after contracting the disease, tempers Philippe Vergnes, co-president of the Syndicat des pharmaciens de la Haute-Garonne. But if these tests are carried out on a large scale, they will help determine the percentage of the population who have been in contact with it, and therefore assess the rate of collective immunity. ”

Potentially several million people: people who had symptoms but did not perform a virological test, those for whom the result of the negative test is contradictory with the clinical picture; or the staff of collective accommodation places, who have been in contact with affected people.

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The first people concerned are the nursing staff. The Minister of Health Olivier Véran has indeed announced that they will all receive a prescription from next week.

  • Where can we find them?

At all health professionals who wish to use them, when the decree is issued. Medical biology laboratories, medical offices, pharmacies and why not, nurses and nursing assistants at home. The French National Authority for Health recommends, however, a more restricted use than the reference tests, “for nursing staff and collective accommodation and for symptomatic patients without signs of severity, but not in hospital”.

This is one of the great uncertainties concerning these tests, and it is significant, since it is on its reimbursement rate by the Health Insurance that the extent of its marketing will depend. “If there is a care, it will mean that it is considered a public health interest. And it may be the rush in pharmacies,” said pharmacist Philippe Vergnes.

The High Authority for Health, for its part, declared itself in favor of reimbursement for all staff working in closed places such as nursing staff, firefighters or prison guards.

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