Tests to detect the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) that use patients’ saliva are just as effective as those that use swabs collected from the nose and throat, an analysis published by JAMA Internal Medicine found.
Saliva-based tests correctly identified those infected with Covid-19 83 percent of the time, while nose-throat swab tests were 85-percent accurate, the review of data from 16 studies showed.
The saliva tests also were 99-percent accurate at identifying those negative for Covid-19, roughly the same as nose-throat swab tests, the researchers said.
The collection of saliva samples is less invasive and causes less discomfort than nasal-throat swabs.
“We now have enough evidence to support an alternative, more pleasant, easier-to-perform test for the diagnosis of Covid-19, especially in patients that are well enough not to be admitted to the hospital,” study co-author Guillaume Butler-Laporte said.
“The test uses patient-provided saliva, rather than a nasopharyngeal swab, or a ‘stick in the nose,’ with almost identical accuracy,” said Butler-Laporte, an epidemiologist at McGill University in Montreal.Analysis of nose and throat samples has become the standard in testing since the start of the pandemic last March, as the approach has been used in screening for respiratory viruses for years, according to Butler-Laporte. SOVEREIGNPH