For (educational) institutions in and around Hamburg.
Comfortable sampling for children and adults.
What does SCoPE mean?
SCoPE means SARS-CoV-2 PCR Examination and stands for a test concept for the early detection of infections with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
How does the test concept work?
Using the lollipop method, saliva samples are obtained and tested for the SARS-CoV-2 virus by PCR analysis in the laboratory. Pool-based testing offers the possibility to analyze many persons at the same time. These so-called screenings can help to determine the current risk of infection, e. g. at daycare centers, and to prevent further infections through targeted isolation measures.
What is the lollipop method or swab saliva swab?
Instead of the usual nasopharyngeal swab for sample collection, children suck on a swab for 30 seconds for each sample. The saliva swab as a method of sample collection is as reliable as the nasopharyngeal swab, but not as uncomfortable, making it a particularly child-friendly way to collect samples.
The lollipop method was developed by the Institute of Virology at the University Hospital of Cologne and used for the first time in a pilot project at 32 daycare centers in Cologne. The successfully tested concept of the lollipop PCR test has since been extended to daycare centers and elementary schools throughout the German state North Rhine-Westphalia.
Why is “ PCR” safer than “rapid testing”?
PCR-based testing is significantly more reliable than the common antigen rapid tests. The results of the latter are more frequently “false negative” due to the lower sensitivity of the method and, in addition, are only valid for a shorter period of time. PCR analysis is suitable for detecting even low SARS-CoV-2 viral loads, i. e. even at an early stage of infection and in cases of illness without clear symptoms.
What does pool-based testing mean?
Pool-based means that the individual samples obtained are combined in groups, so-called pools, and tested as a composite sample. This does not affect the reliability of the test results. If the result is negative, it is ensured that no infection with SARS-CoV-2 is detectable in the test persons. Material and time expenditure for the evaluation of the individual tests can be saved. In case of a positive pool result, a second lollipop test sample can be used directly for each participant in order to provide a daily updated individual result and to identify the infected person(s).
How long does it take to get the test result / findings?
The test result for pool samples and possible individual samples is available within one day.
Why is it not a problem that the test result is not available immediately?
Because the PCR method is more sensitive than rapid antigen tests, smaller viral loads can be detected. PCR testing starts earlier, so to speak, in terms of the course of infection. Even if the result is available later than with rapid antigen tests, the informative value is higher.
Who is the test concept suitable for?
The test concept and the type of sampling are suitable for children and adults of all ages.
Has SCoPE already been implemented?
SCoPE was successfully tested at two daycare centers in Hamburg during a 12-week pilot phase. The feedback from the teachers, parents and children involved was consistently positive.
Is it suitable for facilities in and around Hamburg?
This question can be answered clearly with “yes”. A significant advantage of the concept is the possibility of being able to react flexibly to fluctuating incidence values by adjusting the pool size. This enables fast and efficient testing, even for large groups of the population. For example, regular screening for SARS-CoV-2 could be carried out in an entire school grade on a solid scientific basis. The required (laboratory) capacities are available in Hamburg and can be activated at short notice.
Who is behind SCoPE?
The SCoPE test concept has been set up through a cooperation between the accredited diagnostic laboratory Labor Dr. Fenner & Kollegen and altona Diagnostics GmbH, a certified manufacturer and developer of diagnostic products. Both Hamburg companies can look back on many years of experience in the field of infectious diagnostics.
What was the motivation for SCoPE?
„We developed the concept for this pilot project with a view to groups of people for whom no vaccinations are available for the time being. With this test concept, we want to establish a procedure that can be used to keep daycare facilities and elementary schools open under controlled conditions, even if the number of infections increases, for example in the fall and winter. We are pleased that the willingness to participate in our pilot project and the response from parents and staff in both Hamburg daycare centers has been so positive,” says Dr. Ulrich Spengler, Managing Director of altona Diagnostics GmbH.
From sampling to test result — on the same day