From 8th February 2021, ULiège will once again be organising COVID-19 saliva sample screening for the entire student community and staff members.

This screening is carried out:

  • Each week
  • Free of charge
  • On a volutary basis
  • Anonymously

Who can take part in the University of Liège screening programme?

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).  You are not advised to travel to one of the campuses to obtain a saliva testing kit if you should not be present on the site. 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).

Why is ULiège testing its students and staff?

  • Screening is a useful tool for internal management of the epidemic.
  • It is also a service offered to every student and staff member (a community of 30,000 people).

Saliva self-sampling: as reliable as nasopharyngeal swabs?

  • Saliva sampling is less sensitive than nasopharyngeal swabs, with 60% 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.

For example...

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, a difficult target as there are currently around 25,000 swabs taken every day in the whole of Belgium, we would detect 80 positive cases.

The saliva self-test, just like the nasopharyngeal swab test, must be sent to a laboratory for PCR analysis, which is the main method for detecting coronavirus. As such, this is not a self-test that gives a direct result in a few minutes, but a self-sample for which the result will be known maximum 24 hours after submission (barring any technical problems).  

Will people test positive at ULiège?

  • Yes, statistically, we will discover several dozen or even hundreds of positive cases every week.  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.

Is « 100% » participation necessary for the testing to be effective?

  • No, it is not. However, it is very important that everyone adheres to this citizen gesture. Getting tested is not only an act of taking care of yourself but also of taking care of others.
  • Even if your result is negative from week to week, continue to participate in this testing campaign! Talk about it with fellow students or colleagues. It's a small individual effort for maximum collective comfort! 

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.

Test for the detection of SARS-CoV-2

To live well all together, let's test ourselves regularly!

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