Saliva test for COVID outperforms commercial swab tests: study

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New York: The saliva test to detect Covid-19 performs better than nasal and oral swab tests authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), according to a study.

The Rockefeller University study conducted a head-to-head comparison of 162 people who received both the “DRUL” saliva test and a conventional swab test. DRUL detected all of the cases that the swabs identified as positive – plus four positive cases that the swabs completely missed.

“This research confirms that the test we have developed is sensitive and safe,” said Robert B. Darnell, professor and head of the molecular neuro-oncology laboratory.

“It is inexpensive, has provided excellent surveillance within the Rockefeller community, and has the potential to improve safety in communities as the pandemic continues,” Darnell added.

The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, noted that the DRUL test offers several benefits. That’s for sure – a test that could be done at home and sent to the lab in a transport medium that kills the virus on contact. It’s effective.

However, it’s inexpensive, costing around $ 2 per test. (By comparison, Medicare currently pays up to $ 100 for each commercial test performed.) But, it was comfortable, providing a sample was a simple matter of spitting into a cup.

Data from this study, previously submitted to New York State as part of its approval process, showed that DRUL matches, and in most cases, outperforms the widely used tests against which it has been compared, the researchers said.

The researchers first assessed DRUL’s limit of detection – how many viral copies the test could catch per volume of fluid. The test succeeded in detecting a single viral particle in a microliter of saliva, a figure comparable to that of the most sensitive tests. The lab then performed 30 nasal swabs that had tested positive for Covid-19 through their new testing platform. DRUL caught the 30.

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