In which case should the serological coronavirus test be taken?

In which case should the serological coronavirus test be taken?

Serological tests can detect the presence of antibodies linked to the coronavirus through a blood sample. These tests make it possible to obtain an almost immediate response to the presence of antibodies linked to Covid-19.

Get a prescription to get tested!

If you think you have been infected, you can see a GP on the video to prescribe the test. (100% covered by health insurance)

The different types of serological tests available

There are three types of Covid-19 serological tests approved and recommended by the CNR (National Reference Centre):

  1. ELISA serological tests which work by a blood analysis carried out in the laboratory;
  2. automated tests, RDTs ( rapid diagnostic tests), carried out in the laboratory;
  3. TRODs (rapid diagnostic orientation tests), which can be performed outside the laboratory by nursing staff or in pharmacies, and which are done with a simple drop of blood. You get the result in a few minutes.

Good to know: The High Authority for Health (HAS) still does not recommend self-tests because of the difficulty of interpreting the results alone, when you are not accompanied by a health professional.

What the test does not tell

The Covid-19 serological test allows you to know whether or not you have been infected with the virus in the past. On the other hand, it does not allow to know:

  • if you are still carrying the virus;
  • if you are contagious;
  • if the contamination is due to a variant of covid-19 ;
  • if you are immune to the virus because researchers have not yet determined the level of antibodies needed to be immunized and the duration of immunization.

Pass the test: in which case? In what structure?

When to do the serological test for coronavirus?

The HAS recommends taking the serological test with or without a prescription, if you have been in contact with an infected person or if you have shown signs suggestive of the coronavirus, such as fever, cough, headache, fatigue, etc. In addition, the Ministry of Solidarity and Health recalls that you can have the coronavirus with a fever or a simple cough.

Where to take the Covid-19 serological test?

Serological tests can be carried out on prescription in the following places:

  1. in the laboratory by authorized health professionals;
  2. in pharmacies ;
  3. in the hospital by hospital health professionals.

The serological test in pharmacies

Since the decree of July 11, 2020, TROD rapid tests can be carried out directly in pharmacies, with or without a prescription. The Ministry of Health has validated a list of 51 rapid tests authorized in pharmacies. The tests carried out in pharmacies are not yet funded by the Health Insurance. If the result is positive, it is advisable to have it confirmed by an additional laboratory test.

Good to know: the Haute Autorité de Santé has validated the EasyCOV saliva test from the French start-up Skill Cell. It can now be used on people for whom it is difficult to take a nasopharyngeal sample.

Price and reimbursement of the Covid-19 serological test

How much does the coronavirus serological test cost?

Rapid tests have been sold in pharmacies since July 11. The price of a Covid test in a pharmacy varies between 15 euros and 25 euros. The other tests prescribed on prescription and carried out in the laboratory or a hospital center by authorized personnel are 100% covered by the Health Insurance.

Covid serological tests: in which case are they funded?

The Covid test is not free and can be reimbursed by health insurance. However, the government wanted to put an end to the systematic reimbursement of it since October 15, 2021. We now differentiate between screening tests: if you experience symptoms, or if you have been in contact with an infected person, so-called “comfort” tests: carried out for the sole purpose of obtaining a temporary health pass if you are not vaccinated.

HAS has specified the conditions under which Health Insurance may reimburse 100% of serological tests for Covid-19:

  • If you present a prescription that was issued to you solely for medical reasons (symptoms of Covid-19, or contact with an infected person).
  • If you do not have a prescription but you present proof of eligibility.

Do you match one of these profiles?

Ask a general practitioner for a prescription to carry out the serological test and find out if you have been infected with Covid-19 (100% reimbursed by Health Insurance)

Serological tests without a prescription are not reimbursed

Non-prescription serological tests are not reimbursed unless you can present proof of eligibility such as:  

  • A vaccination certificate attesting to a complete vaccination schedule (excluding booster dose). 
  • A certificate of contraindication to the Covid-19 vaccine (for specific medical reasons). 
  • A certificate of recovery following contamination with Covid-19. 
  • Proof that you are a minor (identity document).  
  • Proof of transport or a declaration in honor attesting that you come from a country classified in the orange or red zones.  
  • Proof of transport or a sworn statement attesting that you are traveling between mainland France and the Overseas Territories, or New Caledonia (for the tests to be carried out on your arrival or at the end of a period of isolation). 
  • A positive antigen test results within 48 hours if you need to perform a variant confirmation PCR test following the first test.  
  • A standard letter from National Education if you are an adult and a secondary, preparatory class, or BTS student identified as a contact at risk.  
  • A presentation of the notification you received from Health Insurance if it contacted you after identifying you as the contact person. (email, SMS, etc.)  
  • A document attesting that you are the subject of a screening organized by an educational establishment. 
  • Proof certifying that you are the subject of a collective screening organized by a regional health agency, or a prefecture within a cluster.  
  • Proof certifying that you are the subject of large-scale tests with an epidemiological objective in a specific territory.  

Consult a general practitioner by teleconsultation

Receive a prescription to carry out the serological test on prescription and be reimbursed. 

Interpreting the results of the Covid-19 serological test

Positive serological test

If the serological test for the coronavirus gives a positive result, it means that you have been in contact with the virus because the presence of antibodies in your blood has been detected. At present, we cannot yet judge whether these antibodies indicate that we are sufficiently immunized or for how long we are, especially since we have developed a minor form of the disease, little symptomatic.

Negative serological test

If your serological test is negative, it means that the presence of antibodies has not been found. You have therefore potentially not yet been in contact with the virus.

What is a false negative?

When you have symptoms of Covid-19, you must first carry out a PCR virological test, because antibodies do not necessarily develop at the start of the infection. Antibodies do not appear 14 days after the onset of the disease, so it is useless to carry out a serological test when you are sick, this could lead to a false negative!

As indicated by the HAS, the serological test should be used in the following cases:

  • if you have symptoms related to Covid-19 and the PCR test was negative;
  • if you have subsequently presented symptoms suggestive of the coronavirus;
  • if you are one of the priority audiences who must be tested (caregivers or collective establishments).

Are the results of Covid serological tests reliable?

The CNR (Pasteur Institute) has published the list of serological tests whose reliability and effectiveness have been deemed sufficient to determine whether one has been in contact with the coronavirus. Find the complete list on the website of the Ministry of Solidarity and Health.

By aamritri

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