The world champion city for Covid-19 screenings

The long queue to get tested at the IHU in Marseille. – FREDERIC MUNSCH / SIPA

  • According to Didier Raoult, the director of the IHU, 2.5% of Marseillais were screened for Covid-19, making it the most tested population in the world.
  • Unlike others, the IHU was able to organize itself upstream to carry out up to 3,000 screening tests per day.
  • In Marseille, around 25,000 tests are carried out per million people, while Germany, which acts as the best student in Europe in this area, tests around 11,000 per day per million people.

The long queues outside the IHU of Marseille have toured France. At a time when the
screening of
Covid-19 are multiplying everywhere, the city of Marseille acts as a model around the world, placing itself at the first place in terms of screening.

According to data published by the IHU on their website, 54,957 tests have been carried out on 29,613 patients since the start of the COVID epidemic. Among these 29,613 patients, 20,987 people live in Marseille. “This means that 2.5% of the population of Marseille has been screened since the start of the epidemic. The Marseillais are therefore, by far, the population that has been the most tested in the world, far more than what has been reported in South Korea or in Italy where currently, the number of samples has increased very dramatically ”, in concludes Professor Raoult.

A graph showing the number of Covid-19 screenings performed per million inhabitants – IHU screenshot

Anticipation and organization

Since the arrival of Covid-19 in France, and even before, with the screening of returnees from Wuhan in the Bouches-du-Rhône, the IHU of Didier Raoult, and public assistance from hospitals in Marseille (AP-HM ) performed very precisely 59,466 tests. When the question of a generalized screening arose to the French government for the exit of containment, the specialists explained that the generalized tests were complex to set up because of the lack of reagents, and even of swabs.

A problem that Didier Raoult and his teams had anticipated. “We have implemented an industrial process involving several thousand PCR tests. At the IHU, we make up to 3,000 a day and we keep getting stronger. We got organized, it took a lot of human time and energy, but we put specific people on this task. From the start, we learned about the obstacles to such an organization and we made the resources available, “explains the IHU.

City labs follow suit

Since the appearance of the Covid-19, Didier Raoult has campaigned for generalized screenings, with the strategy “we test, we detect, we treat”. “The more tests that are done, the more effective it will be, the more people will be screened and the better. We have shown what we can do with this strategy, ”said the IHU.

A strategy that seems to have spread throughout the Bouches-du-Rhône department, with the multiplication of tests carried out by hospitals, but also by city laboratories. According to data from Public Health France on April 6, 2020, 3,430 screening tests are carried out each week by city laboratories in Bouches-du-Rhône, in front of Paris with 2,242 weekly tests, when the laboratories of Bas-Rhin, one of the departments most affected by Covid-19, only does 265 per week.

In Germany, the country with the most screening tests in Europe, just over 11,000 tests are performed per million people, when Marseille peaks at nearly 25,000 tests per million people, more than double.



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