How Does a Saliva Test Compare To a Swab?(1)

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  • Author Jing Zhang
  • Published June 3, 2021
  • Word count 543

From hospitals and university campuses to remote villages in French Guiana, scientists have allowed these two methods to compete with each other. See which one is in front.

Since the early days of the pandemic, clinicians and researchers have been looking for alternatives to nasopharyngeal swabs. Although samples collected from swabs are considered the gold standard for producing accurate results, these tests require more supplies, require health care workers to have closer contact with potentially infected people, and it is difficult to scale up for large-scale testing . Saliva has been proposed as a low-cost, simple alternative, but its effectiveness and accuracy are still the focus of debate.

Just as large universities began rolling out ambitious, saliva-based programs on American campuses, private companies hoping to develop rapid, home diagnostic tests have abandoned such tools. The saliva-based tests conducted in the field have produced a variety of different results. It is unclear under what circumstances saliva is most useful and how it can best fit into the existing testing framework.

For the past 10 years, the epidemiologist Anne wylie of the Yale School of Public Health has been studying the issue of saliva as a source of genetic material, and recently studied the use of saliva to detect COVID-19. Aspect of the role. Wiley has been tracking the literature that emerged during the pandemic to see how often saliva is more effective than nasopharyngeal swabs. Of the nearly 30 studies she analyzed, "almost half and half," she said.

To test the efficacy of saliva itself, Wiley and 50 colleagues performed their own side-by-side comparisons and reported their findings in a review recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Among 70 patients with suspected COVID-19 cases admitted to Yale-New Haven Hospital, saliva samples usually contained more copies of SARS-CoV-2 than swab samples, and the proportion of saliva samples that were positive within 10 days after the initial diagnosis higher. When saliva testing was performed on 495 medical staff, saliva testing found two more asymptomatic cases than swab testing, which led the team to conclude in the letter, “Our findings are that saliva samples are in diagnosing SARS-CoV- 2 The possibility of infection provides support."

At least in a controlled medical environment, the effects of saliva seem to be comparable to nasopharyngeal swabs. But COVID-19 is a global pandemic, and many of the hardest hit communities are rural, poor or otherwise underserved communities. These conditions may affect the effectiveness of saliva-based tests.

Since the early days of the pandemic, clinicians and researchers have been looking for alternatives to nasopharyngeal swabs. Although samples collected from swabs are considered the gold standard for producing accurate results, these tests require more supplies, require health care workers to have closer contact with potentially infected people, and it is difficult to scale up for large-scale testing. Saliva has been proposed as a low-cost, simple alternative, but its effectiveness and accuracy are still the focus of debate.

Just as large universities began rolling out ambitious, saliva-based programs on American campuses, private companies hoping to develop rapid, home diagnostic tests have abandoned such tools. The saliva-based tests conducted in the field have produced a variety of different results. It is unclear under what circumstances saliva is most useful and how it can best fit into the existing testing framework.

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