New equipment that allows the Principality to be more efficient in the fight against coronavirus

This Monday, November 16th, HSH Prince Albert II inaugurated the new facilities of a secure laboratory known as the “P3” laboratory at the Scientific Centre of Monaco (CSM).

The Sovereign Prince, surrounded by Minister of State Pierre Dartout Government Councillors, Didier Gamerdinger and Patrice Cellario, the Interministerial Delegate for Digital Transition, Frédéric Genta, as well as the President of the National Council Stéphane Valéri, the Deputy Director General of Roche Diagnostics France, Carlos Justiniani, and by the President of the CSM, Patrick Rampal, was able to review the use of a new analytical platform for “high-throughput molecular biology” recently acquired by the Principality, the Cobas 6800.

Commissioned by the Prince’s Government, this device considerably increases the pace of PCR analysis, ensuring the Principality’s autonomy in virus screening. This machine has been delivered by Roche. In Diagnostics alone, it will initially perform 400 analyzes per day.

As stated by the Minister of State, Pierre Dartout: “This tool strengthens the mobilization of all private and public laboratories in the Principality. These laboratories have been working tirelessly since the start of the health crisis to test as much as possible. Since September, we have been ramping up our testing capacities. Today, the Principality is on the verge of becoming fully autonomous in terms of screening. This will allow us to develop an even broader and faster screening policy in the coming weeks”.

Faster tests

In order to minimize the time between the results of an analysis and its communication to the patient, the Interministerial Delegation for Digital Transition has developed, with the Roche, CHPG and CSM teams, the digitization and automation of the testing process. This should make it possible to reduce the time between sampling and the communication of results by 50% (between 12 and 24 hours compared to 36 hours previously). This type of integration and reduction in delay take Monaco’s current processes to the highest level of international standards.

The Government Counselor-Minister in charge of Social Affairs and Health, Didier Gamerdinger, specifies the advantages of the digitization of screening:

“Beyond a rapid return of results to the patient, this will allow the Government and the health authorities to have reliable and complete data to make the best decisions for the Principality. This very comprehensive equipment allows us to give a new impetus in the fight against the virus”.

Modernized laboratory

To accommodate this new machine, the Monaco Scientific Centre had to be fitted out within tight deadlines. These deadlines were able to be met thanks to the mobilization of the Monegasque companies involved and the Equipment Department.

This new equipment also gives a new dimension to the Scientific Centre of Monaco, which has reoriented its primary missions to respond to the fight against the coronavirus. As Professor Patrick Rampal, its President, explains:

“First, we will use the Cobas 6800 to analyze nasopharyngeal samples in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. But we are in the process of validating other sampling methods for PCR tests, in partnership with the CHPG. I am thinking, for example, of oropharyngeal samples which could soon replace nasopharyngeal samples”.

But the CSM is also thinking about the post-Covid era and is considering new perspectives for the new equipment that will be useful for other types of more conventional analyzes, such as the papillomavirus.

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