New COVID-19 Testing Method

By: Ian Hill

The new COVID-19 testing method, saliva testing, is less painful, less pricey, and more effective.

SalivaDirect, made by researchers at the Yale School of Public Health, was made a new, more comfortable way to test for the novel coronavirus. SalivaDirect was funded by the NBA because the NBA was looking for a solution to get their players tested quickly without having to do the nasal swab.

The nasal swab involves sticking a very long q-tip up someone’s nose. The doctor moves it around in there, to collect cells and fluids. This often causes tears to form in the patient’s eyes because the body is not used to an object being there. With this new method of saliva testing, all that is required is spitting into a container.

Not only is this new method much more comfortable, it is also cheap. It costs around $10 to be run, whereas the nasal swab tests cost a shocking $950.00 per test. This is another reason why the NBA wanted to avoid the nasal swab. The saliva test has also proven to be quite effective. 90 results can be produced in under 3 hours in a lab, and results can be received in 3-5 hours. Sometimes it takes someone weeks to receive their results for a nasal swab.

With schools and workplaces about to reopen, government officials are struggling to find a better way to test people. Many are now putting their faith in the saliva testing, especially because chemical reagents and swabs, the materials used for the nasal test, have become scarce.

Martin Burke, a researcher at the University of Illinois, made it possible for students who attend the University of Illinois to get tested with this saliva method. There are 40 stations where students can go to get tested. Burke is still testing this method’s sensitivity to the virus, but Burke says that the clinical study showed very promising results.

Prompt and persistent testing is essential to reduce the “window of transmission”, which is the time in which you could get the virus, allowing those who get infected to self-quarantine quicker. Burke says that “If you look at the goal of surveillance testing, fast and frequent testing is the key.” They would all be too expensive, inefficient, and uncomfortable. Saliva testing is the key.


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