Comprehensive PCR COVID-19 testing ensures safer return to school after summer holidays
DGAP-News: SYNLAB AG
/ Key word(s): Product Launch
SYNLAB, Europe's leading medical diagnostic services provider, recommends the general use of comprehensive PCR testing programmes in primary schools and preschools. To protect unvaccinated children whose education and social-wellbeing benefits from classroom teaching. With the spread of the delta variant of COVID-19 and the absence of approved vaccines for children under 12 years of age, reliable testing methods are an important cornerstone to ensure a safe and successful return to classroom teaching after the summer holidays.
SYNLAB has broad experience with implementing comprehensive and systematic PCR testing programmes in schools. Depending on the prevailing regulations and conditions, various PCR sampling, testing, and reporting methods can be used. SYNLAB has been able to contribute to safe school operations in France, Germany, Portugal, Switzerland, and many other European countries. SYNLAB has created innovative solutions to allow easier sampling via so-called lollipop tests as well as more efficient test methods by pooling samples for PCR testing.
Lollipop PCR tests are particularly well suited for use in primary schools and preschools due to the simple and safe sampling, which can be carried out in a few minutes for an entire group. This saves valuable classroom time in comparison to the rapid antigen testing procedure. The children only have to suck on a cotton swab for about 30 seconds, which is much more pleasant and faster than the conventional sampling procedure. For hassle-free sampling, SYNLAB-supported schools, their teachers and parents are guided step-by-step through the process by a largely self-explanatory smartphone app (SYNLAB Access). The test results are also transmitted directly via the app.
The pooling of samples makes the high-sensitivity PCR testing more efficient and cost-effective. The risk of false-positive or false-negative tests is significantly reduced in comparison to rapid antigen tests. At the same time, infections can be detected at an early stage which reduces the number of transmissions by infected children. Pools of up to 25 samples are analysed on the same day and the test results are available the next morning at the latest. In case of a positive pool test result, all children participating in the pool are tested individually with an additional PCR test. Longer quarantine measures or domestic isolation would only apply to the positively tested children. The advantages of high-sensitivity PCR testing outweigh the disadvantage of longer processing time compared to rapid antigen tests.
In several regions, schools are already using the combination of simple and safe lollipop sampling and efficient pooled PCR processing. Since May 2021, SYNLAB is part of a consortium of medical diagnostic service providers that tests all primary school children in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's federal state with the most inhabitants. After a short familiarisation phase, the feedback from teachers, nursery teachers and parents is very positive. Especially the time saved during lessons at school as well as the child-friendly sampling compared to other test methods are seen as great advantages.
Mathieu Floreani, CEO of SYNLAB, underlines the added value of lollipop PCR tests: "Many countries return to normal classroom teaching thanks to low infection numbers. This is great news. Now we must focus on safe and simple testing concepts in order to sustain school operations after the summer holidays for the longer term. The pooled lollipop PCR tests represent a great example for innovation and our medical excellence. The ease of sample collection is a real advantage, especially with the younger children. In addition, the PCR pooling method allows us to analyse the large amount of samples efficiently and cost-effectively while maintaining a high level of accuracy. In Germany, we have already shown that we can set up a comprehensive infrastructure for lollipop PCR testing within a few weeks. With this innovative and child-friendly test method, we make an important contribution to reducing the spread of the virus and safeguarding normal classroom teaching in schools."
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12.07.2021 Dissemination of a Corporate News, transmitted by DGAP - a service of EQS Group AG.
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