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Saliva Effective as Nasal Swabs in COVID-19 Testing


Saliva samples have similar sensitivity in the detection of SARS – COV- 2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease-COVID-19 just like the currently widely used nasal swabs, a new study suggests.

The study, conducted by professors at Yale School of Public Health involved 70 COVID-19 positive patients and 495 asymptomatic health workers.

The researchers made participants who had been tested through PCR using swabs to collect their saliva which was subjected to a test at the same time.

In the arm of the study that involved testing health workers who had no symptoms of the disease, 13 out of 495 tested positive through saliva screening.

Nine of the 13 samples were again tested using nasal swabs and seven of them still tested negative.

However, the 13 samples were again taken to another laboratory where they all came out positive.

In the note to the editors, one of the researchers, Prof. Anne Wyllie a pneumococcologist said considering the growing need for tests across the world, their findings provide support for the potential of saliva specimens noting that the method has several advantages as a collection of the saliva by patients themselves negates the need for direct interaction between the patient and the health worker.

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