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Saliva Tests for COVID-19

  Aug 28, 2020

Saliva Tests for COVID-19

Q. Why is this in news?

A. Recently US drug regulator FDA has  issued emergency-use authorisation to Yale School of Public Health’s diagnostic kit, called SalivaDirect.

Q. How useful are saliva tests for Covid-19?

A.  A saliva test is reported to be prone to less error than has been reported in nasal swab collection, which sometimes give false negatives.

Q. What is a saliva test for Covid-19?

Q. What are the advantages of a saliva test?

  1. Saliva does not require a certified swab and collection receptacle and does not necessarily have to be obtained by a skilled healthcare provider, both of which increase diagnostic-associated cost. Therefore, cost is the biggest advantage.
  2. Second is accuracy: A saliva test is reported to be prone to less error (93-94% accurate) than has been reported in nasal swab collection, which sometimes give false negatives.
  3. Third, the test is less invasive than a procedure that goes to the back of the nose to collect the swab. It is also safer for healthcare workers who collect the swab. Inserting the swab into the back of the nose often results in sneezing and coughing. Spectrum Solution claims that use of saliva kits delivers an over 90% reduction in PPE usage compared to current swab collections for Covid-19 testing.
  4. Fourth, it is a convenient option that does not require travelling to a hospital or lab.

Q. Apart from sampling methods, how is the saliva test different from RT-PCR?

Q. What are the limitations of the saliva test?

Q. Where are saliva tests being used?