Genetic testing of saliva samples identifies COVID-19: Research

As the COVID-19 pandemic began, the urgent need for increased testing was triggered by shortages of materials, especially swabs, a standard method of obtaining samples for testing. So genetic tests have been used to remedy these.

To identify people infected with COVID-19, the researchers began conducting weekly testing of saliva samples from healthy community volunteers in May 2020 and continued for the next two years. Among asymptomatic volunteers who tested positive, Milton and his colleagues found that patients often developed symptoms after a day or two.

But in genetic testing, it gives results a little faster. “That led us to wonder if saliva was better for catching patients before symptoms than traditional nasal swabs,“I said.

The researchers used data from a later study of close contacts of COVID-19 patients to answer that question. While studying, “We collect saliva and swab samples in between (nose) from contacts every 2 or 3 days during their quarantine,“Milton said.”All samples were examined by real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 and measurement of viral RNA in the samples. We then analyzed how these results varied in the days before and after symptom onset.

During the early stages of infection, saliva is significantly more sensitive than mid-turbine nasal swabs,“It is noteworthy that before the onset of symptoms, according to the study, which noted that previous studies have shown that pre-symptomatic transmission plays a larger role than symptomatic transmission of COVID-19 .

These findings have implications for improving public acceptance of COVID-19 testing, reducing the cost of mass COVID-19 screening, and improving the safety of healthcare workers conducting testing. . In the latter case, self-testing of a saliva sample prevents close contact between the patient and the healthcare professional that occurs during nose picking and prevents the patient from coughing and sneezing, thereby contaminating the patient. Spread of viral particles by swabs from sensitive and uncomfortable nasal passages. So genetic testing is an easy and effective way.

Our research supports the use of saliva in large-scale screening in schools and workplaces, as a means to improve screening rates, as well as early detection,“Milton said.”We expect that if rapid saliva tests become available, they could be a big step up from current swab-based rapid tests.

Source: Medindia

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