Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Coronavirus: veterinary laboratories finally start testing

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The department of Saône-et-Loire was the first to launch: the tests of Covid-19 sent Monday by the CHU of Mâcon to the departmental laboratory Agrovalys 71, usually intended for the agricultural and viticultural sectors, were analyzed … in less 4 hours. A relief for the nursing staff, who until now had to wait 48 hours before obtaining the results, the samples having to be sent, for lack of capacity, to Paris or Lyon.

As revealed Point As of Friday, 75 public departmental analysis laboratories have so far been prevented from performing any Covid-19 analysis, a standard prohibiting veterinary biologists in France from processing samples from a human body. An absurdity denounced by the presidents of departmental councils, and by the suppliers of these laboratories, who had indicated from March 15 to the Director General of Health Jérôme Salomon to have a sufficient stock of reagents to carry out 150,000 to 300,000 tests per week.

Also read EXCLUSIVE. How France deprives itself of 150,000 to 300,000 tests per week

Key asset

On Friday evening, Minister Olivier Véran announced the suspension of this standard, and a decree authorizing departmental laboratories to participate in the general effort was published Sunday evening at Official newspaper. “We are three weeks late, so we had to sell part of our test stocks to Germany or Italy, says Point an actor in the chain. Our capacities are reduced today, but they remain important, and better late than never … ”

Read also Coronavirus: a Breton SME targets two million tests per month

Indeed, veterinary analysis laboratories have a key asset, which the administration, deploring a shortage of reagent, has been slow to understand: departmental laboratories, often much better equipped since they process a considerable number of analyzes , have “open” machines: their thermal cyclers are able to adapt to different types of reagents, when the machines in medical biology laboratories, “closed”, only work with the products of their manufacturers.

The war machine sets off

The Saône-et-Loire laboratory, which plans to reach a capacity of 2,000 tests per day, took the lead from the start of the crisis: 20,000 euros were invested, and an agreement signed with the Hospital Center for supervise their collaboration. The Regional Health Agency has given the green light for the first tests to be carried out from today.

Read also Tests, weapons of massive deconfinement

In other departments, the process will be a bit longer: the Indre-et-Loire laboratory will be operational next Monday, with a capacity of 2,000 tests per day, too. That of Dordogne, which has the greatest analytical capacity of the department, is only waiting for the green light from the prefect. Others focus on their future capabilities to process serological tests … The war machine is finally launched.

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