- Self-administered saliva tests for COVID-19 might help address specific staffing, personal protective equipment, and other testing challenges.
- The tests are less accurate than naso/oropharyngeal swabs for COVID-19 detection but may have a place in the detection toolkit.
- Standard swab testing might be unreliable as a reference standard.
Why this matters
- The authors of a related study see saliva-based testing as a resolution to bottlenecks and a way to reduce exposure risk with clinic-based testing, in addition to reducing resource use.
- 1939 paired swab and saliva samples from asymptomatic persons at high risk for COVID-19 or mildly symptomatic patients with COVID-19.
- SARS-CoV-2 was detected in 70 samples (80.0% swabs, 68.6% saliva).
- 48.6% (n=34) tested positive on both swab and saliva samples.
- Discordance seen in 31.4% (n=22) testing positive on swab only and 20% (14) testing positive by saliva only.
- Swabs were obtained from nasopharynx in 35.7% of participants testing positive by saliva only vs 9.1% by swab only.
- Prospective cohort analysis evaluating efficacy of self-administered saliva collection kits vs standard swab testing for COVID-19 detection.
- Funding: None disclosed.
- No gold standard diagnostic.
- Naso/oropharyngeal swabbing based on availability.
- Limited sample size.