Saliva or Nasopharyngeal Swab for COVID-19 testing?
Saliva or Nasopharyngeal Swab Specimens for Detection of SARS-CoV-2
August 29, 2020. The New England Journal of Medicine.
Rapid and accurate diagnostic tests are essential for controlling the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Saliva may serve as an easy, alternative sample type compared to the current standard of nasopharyngeal swab specimens to detect SARS-CoV-2. Saliva can be self-collected and does not require direct contact with health care workers, which may minimize nosocomial infection and immediate demand for swabs and other equipment needed to administer nasopharyngeal testing. In this study, hospital patients simultaneously self-collected saliva samples and had nasopharyngeal swabs collected by health care workers for SARS-CoV-2. Results indicate that the saliva specimens and nasopharyngeal swabs exhibited similar sensitivity. Other studies conducted, found that greater variation in RNase P cycle threshold values occurred when collecting using nasopharyngeal swabs. Given the growing need for testing, these findings provide support for the potential of saliva specimens in the diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Keywords: Saliva, Covid19, SARS-CoV-2, diagnostic, self-collection
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