Coronavirus in Lille: A “Testing Factory” is set sp at the Zénith to test up to 1,000 people per Day

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Coronavirus in Lille: A "test factory" is set up at the Zénith to test up to 1,000 people per day

CORONAVIRUS: The Synlab laboratory promises coronavirus testing for up to a thousand people per day in its mega platform installed at the Zénith in Lille

  • Synlab is installing a Coronavirus Covid-19 sampling platform at the Zénith in Lille.
  • It promises to be able to test up to a thousand people per day.
  • The laboratory has invested one million euros to increase its production capacity.

From Friday, hundreds of people will be able to come every day to the Zénith de Lille to be tested for coronavirus Covid-19. The “European leader in medical biology”, Synlab, has indeed squatted the vast hall of the performance hall to set up a mass sampling centre. Laboratories are increasing the number of test factories, in particular, to meet government ambitions to screen a million French people every week. A public health objective which also happens to be very profitable for laboratories.

A month ago, when the prospect of a second strong wave of Covid-19 became inevitable, the Synlab Hauts-de-France laboratories contacted the Zénith de Lille to offer them a deal. Their main Lille pedestrian PCR test drive was set up at the Pasteur Institute and patients had to wait outside before having their sample taken. The size of these premises also did not allow to accommodate as many people as would have been necessary. The idea was therefore to install a mega sampling platform in the deserted hall of the Zénith. “I’m not going to give you the rental price, but that allows us to pay for the heating and the staff”, recognizes Philippe Blond, general manager of Lille Grand Palais.

A promise of results within 24 hours

“Here, patients wait outside but are protected from the rain, the inside is heated and ventilated, the reception conditions are optimal”, explains for his part Doctor Thierry Mathieu, president of Synlab Hauts-de-France. Markings on the ground, explanatory signs and counters for isolated samples… The organization is precise. “Six people can be sampled at a time by six technicians. The boxes are disinfected after each passage and the results are available within 24 hours ”, promises the president of the laboratory. With or without an appointment, the platform will treat a thousand people daily, from 9am to 3pm every day of the week.

To enable such a high return, Synlab has invested in robots to increase its test production capacity. “Several devices for around one million euros installed in our premises in Pasteur,” says Thierry Mathieu. A significant investment for machines “which we will not necessarily be useful outside the coronavirus epidemic”, he insists.

On the question of the profitability of such an approach, the Hauts-de-France president of Synlab remains evasive. His laboratory invoices the Health Insurance 70 euros for each test, the ceiling being set at 73.99 euros. Since the start of the crisis, for the Hauts-de-France region alone, Synlab has carried out 250,000, which represents 17.5 million euros. At this rate, for the only centre installed at the Zenith, the laboratory will invoice more than three million euros to the Health Insurance for six weeks of operation. Of course, this is not about the bottom line. From this amount, we must, in particular, remove the price of robots, consumables or charges. Synlab, for example, hired 80 people in the region to take on the workload linked to the health crisis.

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