Tuesday, January 18

Covid-19: Are Self-Tests Reliable?

As the use of Covid-19 self-tests begins to become widespread, the question of their reliability inevitably arises.

Authorizing the sale of self-tests in supermarkets at Christmas time has made it possible to speed up the use of self-tests hitherto neglected in favor of antigen and PCR tests deemed to be more reliable.

However, if they are slightly less reliable, the self-tests must nevertheless respect certain reliability standards set by the Haute Autorité de la Santé.

So on his site, the Ministry of Health and Solidarity, recalls that for self-tests to be authorized for sale, they must be “able to detect the presence of the virus in a person actually sick in at least 80% of cases. . ” For people who are not sick and therefore in fact negative, the reliability must be 99%.

The handling of the self-tests plays on their reliability

It is therefore not the self-tests in themselves that are unreliable. The “false negatives” obtained after this type of test are mainly due to handling errors.

Indeed, unlike antigenic and PCR tests, which are carried out by healthcare professionals, self-tests are used by neophytes. Thus, the Ministry of Health confirms that “the possibility of obtaining a ‘false negative’ caused by a sampling error is very real.”

More regular use of a self-test allows better control of the sampling technique and reduces the risk of poor results. If the test is positive or if it is negative with symptoms, it is however recommended by the Health authorities to carry out a second PCR test this time to confirm the contamination more precisely.

It is possible to obtain self-tests in pharmacies but also in supermarkets. For the latter, the possibility of purchase is limited to January 31, 2022


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