millions of doses saved thanks to serological tests

millions of doses saved thanks to serological tests
millions of doses saved thanks to serological tests

Many people have been infected with Covid-19 without necessarily realizing it because they have developed an asymptomatic form of the disease. So they only need one injection of Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca vaccine to be fully protected, but they don’t know it.

In an opinion published on Thursday, the High Authority for Health (HAS) recommends offering a rapid serological test to people who come to be vaccinated. This recommendation relates in particular to young people, the category of the population most likely to have had an asymptomatic form of the disease.

Unlike PCR or antigenic virological tests which are only effective at the very beginning of infection, serological tests detect the presence of antibodies and confirm that a patient has already contracted the virus, even without symptoms.

The TROD (rapid diagnostic orientation test) involves taking a drop of blood by pricking the fingertip. The result is available in less than 15 minutes. If the serological test is positive, the first-time recipient will not need a second appointment. His vaccination course will be completed with a single injection.

Better protection than two doses

“The protection conferred by a single dose injected to a person with a history of infection is greater than that of the two doses injected to a person without a history, regardless of the age of the infection,” says the HAS in s’ based on the latest scientific publications

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On February 11, the HAS already recommended a single dose of vaccine for people who have had a Covid-19 infection confirmed by a PCR or antigen test, whether or not they have developed a symptomatic form of the disease and regardless of the age of the infection. People who are already infected retain an immune memory.

The generalization of these antigenic tests would make it possible to save millions of doses and accelerate the vaccination program, at a time when France is opening up vaccination to all young people over 12 years old. One way to achieve the objective of collective immunity more quickly, synonymous with a return to an almost normal life.

Simplifying the vaccination schedule would have another advantage for those concerned: giving them access to the “health pass” and the digital green certificate for travel to Europe without waiting for a second dose which they do not need.

8% of French people screened, 23% infected

The stakes are far from negligible. It is estimated that 23% of the French population has been infected with Covid-19, while only 8% has been detected by a PCR or antigen test.

The Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, announced Wednesday on TF1 that the vaccination centers will be equipped with rapid serological tests during the month of June. “This is good news which allows us to amplify our vaccine strategy,” he says.

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Local experiments are planned before a possible large-scale deployment. “It is essential to verify in real conditions that this screening does not disrupt the organization of the current vaccination”, explains the HAS in its opinion.

Some vaccination center officials see these tests as an additional task that risks seizing a well-oiled machine. They fear slowdowns due to lack of additional staff, when they are already operating just in time.

Test manufacturers are ready to meet demand, such as the Alsatian laboratory Biosynex. “For the coming months, we expect the market for Covid-19 serological tests to recover in support of vaccination campaigns, in order to optimize vaccine strategies,” the company announced in a press release on Wednesday.

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millions doses saved serological tests

 
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