Monday, July 13, 2020

COVID-19 saliva tests

In early March, as the coronavirus was spreading across the United States and testing capacity was already a problem, Bill Phillips had an idea. 
Phillips is the chief operating officer of a medical device company, Spectrum Solutions, that provides saliva test kits for companies like He wondered if Spectrum’s kits — which require customers to spit in a tube and ship their samples through the mail — could work with detecting this new virus. 
“I just threw it out there: Why don’t we test our device to see if we can use it as a transport medium to get it to the lab?” Phillips recalled in a recent telephone interview.
Spectrum, based outside Salt Lake City, teamed up with a laboratory at Rutgers University, made a few tweaks and found that the effectiveness of their saliva test kit was comparable to the nasopharyngeal test, or the long swab, that was already in widespread use. 
By mid-April, the Food and Drug Administration granted the Rutgers lab an emergency-use authorization. A month later, it received approval for the test kit to be used at home.
That saliva kit is now a key part of Major League Baseball’s plan to return to play, and has also been used by other revived sports leagues, including the PGA Tour and Major League Soccer.
I didn't know this. (I haven't really been paying attention to the various testing methods out there.) I wonder how accurate these tests are? (It's PCR-based, so it taps into the problems the US has had with PCR reagent shortages...) 

I firmly believe we should be testing everyone as much as possible, so this is a good thing. 


  1. My biotech company employer has been contracting a company to test us biweekly with the slightly unpleasant nasal swab. We've been told they will switch to the saliva test soon.

  2. My university offers the saliva test for employees. Took the test two weeks ago. Result in 1.5 days, negative! This is the virus test, not antibodies.


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20