Illustration of virological screening. - Christelle Rewiako / SIPA

"This will be a problem if the demand is high." For François Blanchecotte, president of the Syndicate of Biologists (SDB), access to virological tests for Covid-19 screening without a prescription risks provoking an extension of the results times, when the situation is already "tense".

"What we are going to encourage is to allow anyone, without a medical prescription, even when they have no symptoms, if they have any doubt or fear, to be able to go and get tested," said the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, during his interview on July 14.

"5 to 7 days" to obtain the test result

However, the SDB president observes that in regions which have recently organized large-scale screening campaigns, such as in Hauts-de-France and Ile-de-France, "the deadlines are getting longer" already, with sometimes " 5 to 7 days ”to obtain the test result.

What stuck according to him: the number of caregivers to perform the samples and the number of platforms empowered to analyze them. "We still only have 117 platforms authorized in France in 4,000 laboratories" for medical analysis, he laments.

Already possible for healthcare professionals

The non-prescription screening test is already possible for health professionals, in social medical establishments such as nursing homes and for French people who need a test to take the plane, upon presentation of their ticket, recalls François Blanchecotte.

It would be logical that, as in these cases, there is "100% coverage" by Social Security, but this will only be possible when an order has been published, and "there has not been of discussion for the moment with the health insurance on this presidential announcement ”, he specifies.

Several improvements were authorized last weekend to increase the sampling and analysis capacities. According to a decree published on Saturday in the Official Journal, laboratory technicians are thus authorized to take the samples necessary for virological diagnostic tests (by introducing a swab into the nose) and no longer only medical biologists.

Authorize saliva collection

Department prefects can also authorize certain medical or nursing students to carry out tests in laboratories.

In addition, in the event of difficulty in supplying tests, the laboratories may, by way of derogation, use devices "which do not have a CE marking", a key normally essential for being marketed.

For François Blanchecotte, another "improvement path" would be to authorize saliva samples to perform virological tests, simpler and faster than nasopharyngeal samples. These saliva samples can be taken at home and then brought to the laboratory.


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  • Covid 19
  • Coronavirus
  • Health
  • Biology
  • Emmanuel Macron
  • Screening