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COVID-19 Surveillance Testing

Detect infections early with two-hour, on‑site, saliva‑based testing

Protect classrooms, workplaces, and other populations

Routine Coronavirus surveillance gives you early warning of infection, allowing targeted measures to be taken to stop the spread

Two-Hour, On-site Results

Get ahead of infection instead of waiting days for off-site processing. Delays in turnaround time allow the virus to spread undetected.

COVID-19 Surveillance Test Results

Accuracy Without Compromise

Rapid antigen tests compromise accuracy for speed, missing 1 out of 5 COVID infections. Chai’s Surveillance solution uses gold standard RT-qPCR technology which is the most sensitive COVID detection method according to the CDC.

Rapid antigen tests miss 1 out of 5 COVID infections

Pain-Free Saliva Testing

Unlike swabs, saliva is minimally invasive, making it ideal for routine testing. Saliva eliminates the need for specialized training and costly collection materials that are in short supply.

COVID Surveillance Test Saliva Sample

What is Surveillance Testing?

COVID surveillance looks for the presence of infection in groups to inform health management decisions at the population level. Ongoing surveillance is especially effective with groups in repeated contact, such as classroom cohorts or work teams.

If Infection is Detected:

  • Refer people for diagnostic testing
  • Discontinue group interactions
  • Decontaminate hotspots and surfaces within the building

How it Works

Simple workflow can be run by those with little to no science background.

Collect COVID-19 samples


Saliva is self-collected into individual tubes

Pooled COVID samples


Pool and prepare samples following simple instructions

Coronavirus Test Machine


Run samples in Open qPCR instrument

Get COVID-19 Results

Get Results

Get clear results in an hour

Chai’s COVID-19 Surveillance Quick Start Bundle
Contains everything you need to begin testing groups for Coronavirus:

COVID Surveillance Test Components

Open qPCR instrument, dual channel

COVID-19 Surveillance Test Kit for 100 tests

Enzymatic DNA/RNA Extraction Buffer 10X

Saliva collection cups

View all included equipment + supplies


Open qPCR instrument, dual channel

Mini centrifuge

Mini dry bath

Vortex mixer

10 μL, 100 μL and 1000 μL pipettes

Add to Cart $15,640

Want to learn more about Coronavirus surveillance testing?

Talk to a Specialist


  • What is the difference between surveillance and diagnostic testing?

    Diagnostic testing looks for occurrence of COVID-19 at the individual level when there is a reason to believe an individual may be infected. Surveillance testing looks for infection within a population or community, and can be used for making health management decisions at the population level.

    For example, if routine COVID-19 surveillance reveals the presence of infection in a workplace population, management might refer individuals for diagnostic testing to determine who is infected, and could even elect to close a facility pending diagnostic test results to prevent further spread.

  • Can this kit be used for diagnostic testing?

    No. Chai’s COVID-19 Surveillance Test Kit is marketed for surveillance and research use only. It is not for use in diagnostic procedures. Individual results may not be returned to the tested population. To prevent obtaining individual results in the first place, it is recommended to pool samples. Sample pooling also increases the capacity and speed of testing efforts and reduces costs.

    For diagnostic testing, see our COVID-19 Saliva Dx Test Kit.

  • Is CLIA certification required to perform SARS-CoV-2 surveillance?
    No. The US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has stated that facilities using a pooled sampling procedure to report non patient-specific results do not require CLIA certification during the Public Health Emergency. The pooling feature of our COVID-19 Surveillance Test Kit is designed to allow facilities without CLIA certificates to meet this requirement.
  • Can this assay detect Omicron, Delta, and other variants of SARS-CoV-2?

    Yes, as of June 10, 2022, we’ve performed BLAST analysis of available whole genome sequences, and the assay’s ability to detect all current WHO variants of concern, including Delta and Omicron BA.1, BA.2, BA.3, BA.4, and BA.5 sublineages is unaffected.

    The SARS-CoV-2 virus is constantly mutating as it spreads globally. We monitor sequences published to scientific databases such as GISAID on a regular basis and will update this FAQ as appropriate.

  • How often should I conduct COVID surveillance testing?
    Most customers test twice a week. Testing at least 2 times per week allows you to detect COVID-19 in its earliest stages of infection with minimal cost and disruption to your school or workplace. As test results are representative of only the specific time of test, testing frequency is an important consideration for detecting infection. A sporadic testing regimen could lead to undetected infections in a population. Even testing once a week allows you to detect and slow the spread of COVID compared to no testing effort at all.
  • How do RT-qPCR and rapid antigen tests compare?

    RT-qPCR, or reverse-transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction, provides accurate, quantitative results within hours. It is the current gold standard method to test for SARS-CoV-2 infection due to it’s high sensitivity. RT-qPCR can detect a miniscule amount of RNA, specific to the pathogen, and make exponential copies of it until there are over one billion copies of that particular RNA segment. This is why RT-qPCR is able to detect an infection at earlier stages, even when viral loads are low. Chai’s COVID Surveillance solution can detect an infection with as little as 5.8 viral copies per microliter of saliva.

    Rapid antigen tests can provide results faster than RT-qPCR but at the expense of accuracy and sensitivity. Rapid antigen tests detect proteins on the surface of the virus, yielding qualitative results that heavily depend on higher viral loads for detection. Compared to RT-qPCR, antigen tests need a sample to contain thousands, or even tens of thousands, of viral particles per microliter to produce a positive result. In cases where the sample has low amounts of virus, rapid antigen tests may be unable to detect a COVID infection and give a false-negative result.

    Multiple studies, including guidance by the CDC, concur that the sensitivity of rapid antigen tests are significantly lower than RT-qPCR. One study found that rapid antigen tests detected between 11.1% – 45.7% of RT-qPCR-positive samples from COVID-19 patients. Due to the lower sensitivity of antigen tests, the FDA and CDC recommend confirming negative results with a RT-qPCR test.

  • What are the benefits of saliva over swabs for surveillance testing?

    Due to the minimally invasive and painless nature of saliva collection, saliva is more conducive for routine surveillance testing. Saliva is self-collected and eliminates the need to train specialized healthcare personnel on the collection process, making it easy to collect saliva on a regular basis.

    Studies have also found that saliva is as sensitive if not more sensitive than nasopharyngeal swabs in detecting COVID-19. In addition, the complicated sampling procedure of nasopharyngeal swabbing increases the risk of variable and unreliable results.

  • Can this kit be used to test environmental surfaces?

    No, this kit is intended to detect COVID-19 in a human population. However, our Coronavirus Environmental Surface Test Kit does detect SARS-CoV-2 on high-touch environmental surfaces, such as door handles, tables, shopping carts, and other hard surfaces, using the same Open qPCR technology as our surveillance testing solution. The environmental test kit can be employed as a complementary solution alongside the Coronavirus surveillance test kit to expand your testing efforts in cases where obtaining a saliva sample from every individual is not practical.

    Surface swabbing is especially useful in facilities open to the public, such as hotel rooms, airplanes, and gyms. An example of using both solutions is in a restaurant setting, where the Coronavirus surveillance test kit could be used to routinely monitor workplace personnel, while environmental surface testing detects COVID-19 on high-touch surfaces in areas that are frequently exposed to visitors or customers.

  • Are the test kits compatible with instruments other than Open qPCR?
    Yes, the test kits will work with any Real-Time PCR instrument compatible with the FAM and HEX fluorophores.
  • Do you ship internationally?
    Yes. We have distributors in most major regions. If we do not have a specific distributor in your country, we will ship and service the kits and instruments directly. Contact us at to help you find the best way to purchase kits and instruments.
  • How was the COVID-19 Surveillance Test Kit validated?
    The test kit was validated for its sensitivity, specificity, endogenous interference and cross-reactivity, and clinical performance as detailed in the Validation Report.