Saliva tests to detect endometriosis: After the effects of the announcement, where are we actually?

A start-up in Leon plans to market saliva tests to detect this chronic disease. So the real revolution or the effect of communication?

Last February, the announcement created a round of press and social networks. “This is a revolution”; “A change that many have been waiting for so long.” ; “A hope for all people with endometriosis”. We also wrote an enthusiastic article, in the face of the promise of Leon start-up Zwig, who announced a saliva test to detect endometriosis. And for good reason: Endometriosis is very poorly diagnosed and treated That every progress is impossible to ignore. Especially since Zweig did not go alone and was involved in his project with the Endomind Association.

(Audrey Godfrey / Canvas)

A promising study, but not valid

Two months later, the effect of the announcement has passed, and it has succeeded. The announced test is not yet available on the market (which is normal, even if certain twists suggest an impending availability) and the quality of scientific research remains in doubt, yet published in the journal Journal of Clinical Medicine.

Lamia Jarboi, vice-president of the Info-Endometriosis Association and a radiologist who specializes in endometriosis, says Lost :

“It’s a bit like hydroxychloroquine. This’A preliminary study that can be promising, But which will be supported by larger-scale studies with a more rigorous scientific approach. In addition, communication was made before the final results. A

Several researchers who contacted us underlined the scientific limitations of the study: the test was not done blindly, the discovery team and validity team would be identical, and finally only 200 CIS women were tested for the study, 153 of whom had severe forms of endometriosis. Daniel Weiman, Insaram’s research director, explains:

“When you do a scientific study, the problem is different than applying an experiment to the whole population. The work published in it is still in the early stages.

When a large population, i.e. hundreds of patients and controls are tested, it will ensure that the test works properly and not just within the framework of the trial. This is the rest of the work. A

Indeed, Inserm claims that“Therefore there is a risk that this test will only work in this context [celui de l’étude] And not in new patients. A A basic warning, reminiscent of the long history of science, which conflicts with the company’s trust when managing communications.

Ziwig, a confident start-up

For its part, the start-up, explained through the voice of its president Yahya El Mir Lost That’s just about it. ” The quarrel between the researchers 6, that this test is serious, that it has the support of the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics. For her, it is clear, she will detect all types of endometriosis. He underlined:

“This test is revolutionary, it will allow many patients to be cared for more quickly, avoiding medical malpractice.”

To date, people with endometriosis have been diagnosed 7 years late. “Inadequate integrated care”, Explained the higher health authorities. With little or no training, many doctors do not recognize endometriosis during medical examination (MRI or endovaginal ultrasound). Tests work very well when doctors are trained to recognize endometriosis. This is an integral part of the problem: training doctors in this area.

So Ziwig’s idea Diagnose this chronic and incurable disease quicklyFrom the first suspicion. Philip Descamps, one of the physicians involved in the implementation of the saliva testExplain:

Aim to be this test Easily accessible to general practitioners. This will enable them to detect any endometriosis before referring the patient to a specialized center. A

Together with other doctors and engineers, he assisted in the implementation of this test, which, ideally, could be performed at home, on a medical prescription, and sent to a laboratory for analysis. The technique is based on a new machine designed for this saliva test, which combines artificial intelligence and high-throughput sequencing.

Not the first in the French market

Before it became available in France, the president of Ziwig stated that he would like to market it in German or Benelux, without the potential compensation but with CE marking, which is essential for marketing such products. It will cost hundreds of euros. Yahya El Mir continues:

We will be putting it on the French market soon. We’ve filed a refund request. This test has not yet been found, but it will! A

Although the High Authority for Health (HAS) has denied the matter. Contact by LostHAS emphasizes:

“No payment file has been submitted for this test. To apply for reimbursement, it has to come from an educated society, health insurance or the Ministry of Health and to date we have received nothing.

We are contacting Ziwig, but this is not a company that can file a refund request. This contact with them is called a “preliminary meeting” to explain how to follow them. A

For Zwieg, in the face of this announcement, nothing is out of place:

“Haas is a big administration, the file is well submitted. We are working with them, we have given them the requested material and we are waiting for their response in the future. A

Whether it’s business impatience or an administrative diary, when will the Zyug test be available in our territory – it’s impossible to say without income inequality.

The limitations of this experiment and a new study

But the real problem with the Zweig test may be elsewhere. Biomarkers selected to detect endometriosis may be related to other inflammatory diseases, such as Crohn’s disease. According to Lamia Jarboi:

“They contacted the general public very quickly. This is an innovation that may be interesting for research progress, but they are only at the very beginning. As it stands, this test is not usable and is not available in the market. A

In response to these critical differences, the start-up says a new study, with the help of 1,000 CIS women and about fifteen French hospitals, is underway to validate the test. Again, caution should be exercised: a start-up may have a product that works, but it stands, it only communicates the promise.

And for some people concerned, this test is not an answer anyway. “Early detection won’t make any difference to me, Lucy insists, Since there is no cure “, Recalls that a diagnosis remains a diagnosis. AAERS President Anna Stevenson has a similar tendency:

“Scientific research does not allow us to be sure that this test will really work as directed. The whole problem is there. It is good to identify, and we know how to do it well with current equipment, unless doctors are trained and caring.”

But then what do we do? A

To date, if there is a solution to slow the progression of endometriosis or to relieve pain, there is no cure for it. Ideally, if the product works, Ziwig will allow early diagnosis. But for now, start-ups have literally everything to prove.

Read more:

Hello Government, Where is the recognition of endometriosis as a long term condition?

Feature image: © Pexels / George Milton

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