The most popular covid-19 test involves poking around in one’s nose and it is not comfortable at all. If you have had the test before, you should know what it feels like. The saliva-based covid-19 testing has been around for some time now and it is an option to consider. However, many questions pop up immediately. What is the saliva covid test accuracy? How about the saliva covid test result time? We will try to answer these questions in this article.
Although nasal swabs remain a popular choice for testing, saliva testing is known to perform at the same levels. A study involving 5900 participants shows that saliva-based testing detected positive COVID infections 83% of the time. Nasal swabs detected them 85% of the time. The same study also revealed that saliva testing shows 99% accuracy in detecting negative cases.
The saliva-based COVID test works similarly to the nasal and oral swab tests. The only thing different here is the sample used for testing. The method is the quantitative reverse transcription PCR that identifies the virus RNA in the sample tested. With saliva, testing is modified but similar to nasal swabs. It has been observed that the manner of collection of the saliva matters in the final results. Researchers have found out that saliva obtained directly from the salivary glands was not as effective as coughed-out saliva. Researchers believe that using spit saliva is more effective because it comes with cells in the mouth and respiratory secretions that shed the virus. However, some say that spitting generates aerosols and this can affect accuracy. Instead, it’s better to let saliva pool at the back of the mouth for some minutes. After this, the patient allows it to drip down into the container provided.
How Accurate Are Saliva-Based COVID-19 Tests?
No single testing method is 100% accurate. The saliva-based tests areas as reliable as nasal swab tests. Some say the saliva-based tests may even be more reliable. Furthermore, researchers have tried to identify possible interference from different sources. They found out that many substances we use do not affect accuracy. These include decongestant nasal sprays, steroid nasal sprays, sore throat lozenges, blood, toothpaste, and mouthwash. However, food may affect. Smoking dries the mouth and can interfere with accuracy.
What Are The Chances Of False Results From A Covid-19 Saliva Test?
Negative results do not confirm the absence of COVID-19. This goes for nasal swab testing or saliva-based testing. The clinical assessment, patient history and disease statistics are also considered. It is advised that patient test 5-7 days after exposure, even if they are already experiencing symptoms. Results from many studies are very promising. A publication from the University of Utah shows a high positive percentage agreement (94%) and a negative percentage agreement (98%) between COVID-19 saliva and nasal swab testing.
How Long Do Results Take?
Saliva samples allow us to confirm infection in a matter of hours. However, logistics is an issue. Transport from the site of sample collection to the testing laboratory will affect the time taken to get results.