Washington, December 12: A study published in the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics reveals that COVID-19 can be diagnosed effectively with self-collected saliva samples that are capable of detecting SARS-CoV-2 genetic material in a rate similar to that of the nasopharynx. and oropharyngeal swabs. The detection rate with saliva samples was similar on different test platforms, and the saliva samples were stable for up to 24 hours when stored with ice packs or at room temperature, according to a new study from Elsevier. MSK).
Principal Investigator Esther Babady, PhD, D (ABMM), FIDSA, Director of the Clinical Microbiology Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA, said: “The current pandemic has put significant pressure on the supply chain, from swabs to personal protective equipment (PPE) that healthcare workers need to collect samples safely, “he said
“Using their own collected saliva has the potential to minimize the exposure of healthcare workers and decrease the need for specialized collection devices, such as swabs and viral transport media,” Babady added.
The study that was conducted at MSK in New York City at the peak of the regional outbreak between April 4 and May 11, 2020, involved 285 MSK employees as participants who needed to be tested for COVID-19 because they had symptoms of the virus or had been exposed to someone who had the virus.
Each participant provided paired samples, a nasopharyngeal swab, and a mouth rinse; a nasopharyngeal swab and a saliva sample; or an oropharyngeal swab and a saliva sample. All samples to be analyzed were stored at room temperature and transported to the laboratory within two hours. The concordance between the saliva test and the oropharyngeal swab was 93 percent, with a sensitivity of 96.7 percent. Compared with the nasopharyngeal swab, the saliva test agreement was 97.7 percent, with a sensitivity of 94.1 percent.
Mouthwashes were only 63 percent effective at detecting the virus, with an overall agreement with nasopharyngeal swabs of just 85.7 percent. To test stability, saliva samples and nasopharyngeal samples with a range of viral loads were stored in a transport refrigerator at 4 ° C or at room temperature. No significant difference in virus concentration was detected in any sample at the time of collection, eight hours later, and 24 hours later. These results were validated on two commercial SARS-CoV-2 PCR platforms, and the overall agreement between the different test platforms was greater than 90 percent.
Dr. Babady noted that the validation of self-sample collection methods holds great promise for comprehensive testing strategies that would mitigate the risk of infection and the utilization of PPE resources. “The current ‘test, track and trace’ approach to public health surveillance relies heavily on testing for both diagnosis and surveillance. The use of self-collected saliva provides a cheaper and less invasive option for the collection of viable samples. It is certainly easier to spit into a cup twice a week than to undergo frequent nasopharyngeal swabs, “he said.
“This can improve compliance and patient satisfaction, particularly for surveillance tests, which require frequent specimen collection. Since we also demonstrated that the virus was stable at room temperature for at least 24 hours, saliva collection it has potential for use in the home, “he added.
Study: Self-Collected Saliva Sample Effectively Diagnoses COVID-19
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