As we learn more about ways to expand the public’s access to COVID testing and effectively identify COVID, saliva-based testing has come to the forefront as the most comfortable, simple, and reliable sampling method. Saliva-based testing is now replacing swabs that were used in testing early on in the pandemic.
Simple, Reliable Self-Collection
While samples collected from swabs are considered the gold standard for respiratory diseases, these complex tests are challenging to perform and require a trained healthcare worker to administer. In contrast, saliva can be reliably self-collected because the process is as simple as spitting into a sterile container. More people can be sampled at once, eliminating time spent waiting in lines for one-to-one sampling with a healthcare worker.
The ability to self-collect samples provides flexibility in choosing when and where to sample. You can sample on-site in your community, school, or workplace without the need to be in a traditional clinical setting. This simultaneously alleviates burdens on busy healthcare workers and takes testing out of clinical settings where there may be a high risk of transmission.
Safe and Comfortable for Routine Collection
Swabs are notoriously uncomfortable and induce sneezing/coughing due to the invasive nature of collection, which causes further viral spread and puts healthcare workers and the surrounding public in danger. Deep nasal swabs are not ideal for routine testing, and the disagreeability of swabs can be a hurdle to COVID testing, especially for pain-averse populations.
The Cost-Effective Choice
Saliva is an economical option for laboratories and communities alike. Swab sampling relies on collection materials, such as swabs or VTM, that are difficult to find and costly due to supply chain issues. One study found that the total cost of nasal swab sampling was two times more than saliva sampling. In addition, VTM is a slightly more challenging reagent to handle as it must be refrigerated, compared to saliva which is stable enough that it can be kept at room temperature.
As Accurate and Effective as Swabs for COVID Detection
The FDA has issued emergency use authorization for saliva-based tests, as they have proven as effective, if not more so than nasal swab tests. A peer-reviewed publication from the University of Utah observed that saliva-based tests and swab results had agreement on 94% of their positive results and 98% on their negatives.
A peer-reviewed publication observed that saliva-based tests and swabs had 94% agreement on their positive results.
Based on preliminary findings, saliva could be more representative of who is infectious. The lung and nasal cavities hold inactivated viral particles, compared to the mouth, where saliva is produced and recycled hourly. COVID tests based on samples from either the lung or nasal cavity can lead to positive results which are not indicative of a current viral infection. Other studies have found that saliva is as sensitive for COVID-19 detection if not more than nasal swabs and is a viable and scalable alternative.
Start Testing With Saliva Today
Chai has designed two saliva-based COVID-19 testing solutions so that people can regularly test for COVID in a comfortable, economical, and reliable way. Both the COVID-19 Saliva Dx and Surveillance assays use PCR technology to give two-hour results and detect an infection in as little as 5.8 viral copies/µL.
The COVID-19 Saliva Dx Test Kit is a diagnostic solution for CLIA-certified laboratories looking to return individual results, accommodating both saliva and swab sample types. RNA can be extracted in two steps via our 10X Enzymatic Extraction Buffer, eliminating the need for expensive and manually-intensive purification steps.
The COVID-19 Surveillance solution enables schools and businesses to bring COVID testing in-house, reducing turnaround time and eliminating service costs. Both solutions come in a turnkey Quick Start Bundle format, which contains everything you need to begin testing for COVID.