INFOGRAPHY – How do they work? What are the benefits and harms of each test for coronavirus? Le Figaro takes stock.

STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / AFP

PCR, LAMP, Elisa, TDR… The world of biological tests is populated by obscure acronyms, which are all techniques and varied uses. Le Figaro make the point.

● PCR and LAMP, in search of the viral genome

What they are looking for. The genome of the virus. They therefore indicate whether the patient is a carrier at the time the test is performed. We analyze upper respiratory tract cells (nasopharyngeal sample), more rarely lower (bronchoalveolar lavage, with a liquid injected into the bronchi and then recovered).

How it works.The viral genome is amplified (the quantity of genetic material of the virus is multiplied), then specific sequences identified. In PCR (polymerase chain reaction), the sample is heated and cooled several times; in the LAMP tests (loop-mediated isothermal amplification in English), the target sequence is amplified at constant temperature, then a nucleotide (basic element of DNA) added which makes it possible to read the result by

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