ULiège will once again be organising COVID-19 saliva sample screening is again organised for the entire student community and staff members.
This screening is carried out:
- Each week
- Free of charge
- On a volutary basis
All ULiège students, and all those who are directly paid by the Institution, can take part in the University’s COVID-19 screening programme free of charge (including F.R.S.-FNRS representatives assimilated to ULiège staff members). Please note: only people who have a national registration number (Belgian citizens) or a BCSS number (foreign citizens residing in Belgium) can take part. Those who are not paid by the University (unpaid substitute teachers, retired staff members, voluntary collaborators, etc.) cannot take part in the screening programme.
Can staff from an organization using one of the University’s buildings take part in the screening programme?
Only ULiège students, and all those who are directly paid by the Institution, can take part in the University’s COVID-19 screening programme free of charge (including F.R.S.-FNRS representatives assimilated to ULiège staff members).
Unfortunately, it is not possible to register your sample if you do not have a national registry or BCSS number. Until a solution is found for the start of the 2021-2022 academic year, you can contact the Covid-19 Platform via the address firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain your result if you have submitted a sample (you will need to provide the barcode number of the sample).
No, the results of the saliva screening are not recognized by Sciensano for this purpose. In order to obtain a valid document, you must refer to the instructions [provided by Sciensano: https://covid-19.sciensano.be/fr/procedures/avant-le-depart] and the instructions of the authorities of the country you wish to travel to.
- Screening is a useful tool for internal management of the epidemic. It makes it possible to monitor the spread of the SARS-Cov-2 virus, which is responsible for Covid-19, and thus progressively promote the return to 100% classroom teaching on campus.
- It is also a service offered to every student and staff member (a community of 30,000 people).
- Saliva sampling is less sensitive than nasopharyngeal swabs, with 68% sensitivity, as opposed to 80% for the swabs.
- However, saliva is reliable for detecting a contaminating person, considering that contamination is mainly by saliva projection.
- Furthermore, for people who are heavily infected with the virus, the sensitivity of saliva is 80%.
- In the context of managing the pandemic, many scientists are now recommending simpler methods that can allow many more people to be tested more frequently. Saliva testing is proving to be an effective solution. The risk of false negatives exists, but is partly compensated for by the number of tests and the fact that they are repeated regularly.
In large groups, saliva tests can detect more cases than swabs despite their lower sensitivity.
If an incidence of 1% is assumed:
- SALIVARY TEST: if all members of our University community, students and staff combined (30,000 people), were to be tested, we would detect 195 positive cases given the sensitivity of the saliva test. This operation can be carried out very regularly.
- SWAB : if we were able to test 10,000 people in our community every week by means of a swab test (swab test requires the intervention of a physician), we would detect 80 positive cases.
- Yes, this is normal and expected given the likely incidence rate within our community (and society in general).
- More than the absolute number of positive cases discovered each week, it is the evolution of the weekly percentages as the testing campaigns progress that we must be pay attention to. It is with these numbers that we will be able to see whether the rates remain globally stable, decrease or increase.
ULiège at the forefront of testing since the beginning of the crisis
In April 2020, the University of Liège developed an automated method for testing for SARS-CoV-2 and secured the supply of the reagents needed to extract the virus’ genetic material by creating an autonomous production line within its laboratories.
ULiège joined the federal testing platform as an approved laboratory. Its automated method has been replicated in the other Belgian laboratories that are now part of the new federal testing platform.
Since the beginning of the health crisis, ULiège has thus played an important role in innovation and screening. It developed its method by creating, along with a number of Walloon companies, a kit for the self-sampling of saliva before PCR laboratory analysis. This method speeds up the process by making sampling easier, as it is carried out personally and not by trained medical staff (like swab testing), and by eliminating the need for the first stage of laboratory work, as the virus is inactivated when the self-sampling kit is sealed.
In order to monitor and adapt the recommendations related to the COVID-19 control measures within ULiège, a "COVID and me" survey is being conducted since September 2020.
Completely anonymous, this survey takes about 10 minutes. Participation is open to anyone over 18 years old, living in Belgium and attending ULiège as a student or staff member.