France tests swabless COVID test with results in 40 minutes

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PARIS (Reuters) – French researchers say they have had encouraging initial results from testing a COVID-19 testing system that they say can provide results in 40 minutes without a swab and without the need to send tests samples at a laboratory.

The French system showed 87.5% accuracy in detecting positive results when tested on a sample of 220 people, the researchers said, and they are now seeking approval from the French regulator for the system to enter. in commercial use.

“It’s a test that can be done anywhere,” said Alexandra Prieux, president of SkillCell, one of the project partners.

The system, called EasyCOV, is one of many options being developed around the world in an attempt to resolve a bottleneck with COVID-19 testing.

Most testing involves taking swaps deep in the nasal passage and then sending the sample to a lab where it is analyzed using equipment and chemical kits made by a handful of manufacturers. . Results can take days.

This arrangement has resulted in shortages and delays which epidemiologists say hamper efforts to quickly isolate cases and leave no choice but to resort to economically expensive lockdowns.

The EasyCOV system, developed by a partnership between SkillCell and the National Center for Scientific Research, consists of taking a sample of saliva from the patient’s mouth using a pipette.

The saliva is transferred to test tubes which are heated in a special portable device designed for use on site. After 40 minutes the result is ready. If the fluid in the tube is yellow, the patient has COVID-19. If the liquid is orange, they are negative.

The consortium said that since the initial test with 220 people, it has expanded its testing to include a sample of 720 people. The results of those larger tests are still being analyzed, they said.

Writing by Christian Lowe; Edited by Mike Collett-White

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