A new study from McGill University proves the efficiency of saliva tests for detecting COVID-19 versus nasal tests.
The study, led by Drs. Todd Lee and Emily McDonald from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC), confirmed the results.
According to the RI-MUHC study, the new results could affect global public health policies as the pandemic rages on.
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“Saliva samples for COVID-19 testing are as good as nasopharyngeal swabs, but cheaper,” says the study. “These studies could rapidly influence global public health policy for testing strategies.”
RI-MUHC says previous studies on the performance of saliva tests showed “mixed results” and made saliva tests, in general, look worse than they actually are. “There are no perfect tests for COVID-19,” said Dr. Guillaume Butler-Laporte.
The study also noted that nasal tests cannot be easily performed all over the globe and that children and people in quarantine “cannot be easily or reliably” be tested with nasal swabs.
The study concluded that it is “incredibly important to validate this [saliva] sampling technique for possible deployment in countries or communities with continually high case rates and especially those with developing healthcare systems and less access to specialized care.”