DIY: French company develops postal coronavirus test

Laboratory has launched a Covid-19 self-testing kit that can be ordered online delivered to your home in under 24 hours.

1 October 2020
The new saliva tests use technology widely used by forensic police scientists
By Jane Hanks

Axiotis Laboratoires is the first laboratory in the world to develop a method of collecting saliva samples for coronavirus using an FTA card, which can safely be sent through the post, its founder told The Connexion

“FTA cards are widely used by forensic police scientists to collect blood and saliva samples. The membranes of any dangerous cells are destroyed on contact with the card which means any virus is neutralised and cannot contaminate anyone, but the DNA and RNA nucleic acids are trapped in the fibres of the card which means that the cells present in the sample can be analysed,” Frédéric Ropiquet said.

“The saliva test we use is the Center for Disease Control authorised method used worldwide. It is our method of collecting samples which is new,” he added.

Anyone can order the test on the laboratory’s website. However, it can only be purchased using Paypal or via cheque. 

It costs €48 and includes the card, a tube to collect your saliva and a pipette to drop your sample on the card. You send the card back to the laboratory in a pre-supplied envelope and they promise to email you the results within 24 hours of receipt.

You cannot yet be reimbursed by the Social Security for the test, because the method used for collecting samples has not yet been officially authorised.

Mr Ropiquet says he is applying for government approval but that could take several weeks. 

Axiotis Laboratories normally specialises in water analysis and is based in Toulouse. Mr Ropiquet thinks the lab's new tests could be very useful for people. 

“Since an article in local newspaper, La Dépêche, the phone has not stopped ringing. We are only a small laboratory so it will take us a few days to catch up with the demand. People are telling us they have to wait eight days to get their reimbursed free test results in Toulouse, by which time it is too late to be any use and there are plenty who are prepared to pay to get results sooner. You cannot use our test results yet for official purposes, but it can reassure you before a visit to an elderly relative or travel abroad. Airline companies are accepting our test results.”

He is surprised no-one else has thought of using FTA cards for collecting Covid-19 samples, but says his laboratory came up with the idea, because they already use them for other tests.

Read more about testing and coronavirus in France:

Coronavirus tests in France: 24 common questions

France to release five million 30-minute Covid-19 tests

‘Miracle molecule’ effective against Covid found in Lille

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