Screening and new variants: “If we are passive, we will be picked up”

Whether it is through rapid tests or more extensive screening for new variants, Quebec must be much more proactive, otherwise the province, like several European countries, “will be picked up” by the government. virus.

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This is the warning issued Thursday by pharmacist and professor at the University of Montreal Diane Lamarre, who is concerned about the low number of samples being taken in Quebec to detect the presence of the new variants.

“There are countries that really do a lot. In Denmark, we are around 70%. We might not need to make it that far, but we’ve been told about 5-10%, and it looks like it’s only 3%, ”she explains.

To detect the presence of a new variant, it is necessary to sample a PCR screening test, then send it to a laboratory for genomic testing.

The pharmacist fears that by screening so little for the new variant, Quebec will still be in a “catching up” position against the virus.

“If we are in the passive mode, for sure we will be ‘picked up’ by the virus,” she warns. You have to be proactive. You should not be satisfied with a small number of tests. We have to keep testing a lot to find the first signs of outbreaks caused by these variants. “

Rapid tests

With even less than 1% of rapid tests used in Quebec, the government has missed out on a great opportunity to be proactive, believes Diane Lamarre, even if it is starting to deploy them, especially in certain schools.

“It’s late and we’re going half-heartedly. It’s incomprehensible, it’s not justified, ”she says.

Fears about the reliability of these tests are invalid in his eyes and only “infantilize” Quebecers.

“We are able to tell parents in a school or people who work in a company that we are going to test you, that this test is a little less reliable, that it is possible that you are negative, but that you have it anyway, ”she said.

The pharmacist gives the example of Ontario, where by massively screening businesses, 60 positive results were obtained using rapid tests. After a PCR test, 50 of them tested true positive.

“It’s still a triage. When you go to the hospital, you’re not sure you’re having a heart attack, but you don’t say not to go in case you don’t find out the first time you have a heart attack, -it. No, we are in a process where we try to detect things and we refocus on the more precise diagnosis. ”

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