Saliva can be more effective than nasopharyngeal swabs for COVID-19 testing, researchers find

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Sumary of Saliva can be more effective than nasopharyngeal swabs for COVID-19 testing, researchers find:

  • The collection of nasopharyngeal swab (NPS) samples for COVID-19 diagnostic testing poses challenges including exposure risk to healthcare workers and supply chain constraints..
  • A team of researchers has found that an innovative protocol that processes saliva samples with a bead mill homogenizer before real-time PCR (RT-PCR) testing results in higher sensitivity compared to NPS samples..
  • It helped us with increased compliance from the population for testing along with decreased exposure risk to the healthcare workers during the collection process,”.
  • said lead investigator Ravindra Kolhe, MD, PhD, Department of Pathology, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta University, Augusta, GA, USA..
  • In the first phase (protocol U), 240 matched NPS and saliva sample pairs were tested prospectively for SARS-CoV-2 RNA by RT-PCR..
  • In the second phase of the study (SalivaAll), 189 matched pairs, including 85 that had been previously evaluated with protocol U, were processed in an Omni bead mill homogenizer before RT-PCR testing..
  • Twenty positive pools containing one positive and four negative samples were processed with the Omni bead homogenizer before pooling for SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR testing and compared to controls..
  • Dr. Kolhe observed that the underlying issues associated with lower sensitivity of saliva to RT-PCR testing could be attributed to the gel-like consistency of saliva samples, which made it difficult to accurately pipet samples into extraction plates for nucleic acid extraction….

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