DURBAN – Nasal swabs have been the most common method of Covid-19 testing. Most people have said they found the method uncomfortable.
Not only is the nasal swab uncomfortable to most, but there have been several myths and fake news shared about this method of testing.
Earlier this year a video of a man, with an earbud stuck up his nose, as widely shared on social media causing widespread panic in the across the country.
In the video, the man claimed that the swabs used to test people were in fact used to spread the virus.
Now there is hope for those who have been avoiding this method of testing. Two new studies have found that saliva tests are about as reliable as those using samples from the back of the nasal cavity.
According to researchers, in the first five days after diagnosis, 81 percent of the saliva tests came back positive, compared with 71 percent of the nasopharyngeal tests.
In one of the new studies, a team from Yale identified 70 hospital patients with Covid-19 whose infections had been confirmed with the traditional nasopharyngeal swabs.
In the second study, researchers from Canada recruited nearly 2,000 people with either mild symptoms consistent with Covid-19 or who had no symptoms but were at high risk of infection. The study design was meant to simulate the conditions of mass screening, the authors wrote.
“Saliva testing presents potential advantages. The collection does not require trained staff or personal protective equipment, can be done outside testing centres and may be better tolerated in challenging or paediatric populations,” wrote the researchers from Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory.
The Yale team noted some of those same benefits and added a few more. Saliva tests eliminate the need for health care workers to come into contact with people who might be infected, reducing transmission risk. Being able to conduct a test without medical personnel on hand also removes a “major testing bottleneck,” the team wrote.
For LIVE updates on the Coronavirus pandemic, follow us on Twitter: @sacoronamonitor