Monaco is currently seeking volunteers to test the reliability of new oral tests. Launched on 18 February, the study hopes to help replace nasopharyngeal swabs. The nasal swab, which measures about fifteen centimetres long, is not very comfortable for the patient being tested, especially for a child who may move around during the sample. The study, which is named “Cordages” is underway at the Espace Léo-Ferré.
The princely government has selected two types of oral swabs to try to establish whether a mouth swab test is as effective as a nasal swab. The study is currently asking the local population to participate in order to determine the reliability of these tests, which are much less invasive than a nasopharyngeal test.
According to the Princely Government’s website, “As part of your screening by a PCR test at the Léo Ferré national screening centre by appointment, you may be offered, if you are of legal age and on a voluntary basis, to participate in the study of oral tests. These “cordage” tests are not carried out independently of the PCR tests.”
When an individual agrees to participate in the study, a few minutes after the PCR test, two oral tests are performed on the patient. The first sample taken from the mouth is then treated in the same manner as a nasal sample, at the scientific centre. The patient’s second oral swab is treated through an antigen test developed by Monegasque company Stark. The company has a patent to discover oral cancer and they applied it for the detection of viral antigens.
The oral samples are taken with a swab rubbed on the inside of the cheek. It doesn’t hurt and has been compared to the same feeling as brushing your teeth. It only takes about twenty minutes to undergo the three tests.
When will the results be published?
Results of the study will be determined after 1,500 people have participated. The study began on 18 February and 150 patients have participated thus far. This is the largest study ever made regarding alternative tests.
The study will last one to two months with preliminary results, then a scientific publication will be released within 6 to 9 months. The new mouth swab tests will be put in place if conclusive results are obtained.