PARIS (Reuters) – A French consortium said on Wednesday that it was stepping up its previously announced plans for a saliva-based screening test to detect COVID-19, by joining up with medical laboratory and diagnostics group INOVIE.

The consortium – comprised of French companies Vogo, SKILLCELL and the CNRS SYS2DIAG laboratory – said INOVIE would work on its ‘EasyCov’ saliva-based testing product.

The consortium’s aim is for the test to be performed by a healthcare professional, which involves collecting less than 1 millilitre of saliva from a patient.

The sample is then deposited in two tubes heated to 65°C (149°F), and a subsequent reading screens the tested patients for the presence of the virus.

COVID-19 is the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Himani Sarkar)