MedNow Labs is now offering the Saliva Covid test!
How does it work?
Instead of administering this test with a nasopharyngeal swab (nasal swab), we offer a saliva based covid testing alternative. Simply fill up the tube with 2ML of saliva using the blue funnel provided and you're all set!
Can you eat or drink prior to a saliva Covid test?
No, you cannot eat or drink 60 minutes prior to administering the Saliva test. This is imperative for the accuracy of the results.
How long do saliva covid test results take?
Our saliva tests typically take longer to process than Nasal swab tests. You should receive results via email in 36-48 hours.
How accurate is the saliva covid test?
The saliva test is actually still an RT-PCR Covid test, the only difference is the specimen collection method. So, it's still the gold standard for testing and delivers 99% accuracy.
Find a MedNow site near you and come get your free pcr saliva test today!
With the emergence of variants of coronavirus, including Delta and Omicron, the need to increase the testing capacity is higher than ever before. The high transmissibility rate of the virus makes it crucial for early detection and treatment. The world has already suffered greatly due to the unavailability and shortage of necessary COVID testing and treatment equipment. Further ignorance can lead to horrible disasters, swiping away hundreds of precious lives.
Therefore, researchers and health care experts have been working tirelessly to enhance testing and treatment facilities for the masses. The Saliva COVID test is a step forward in this regard.
Adequate testing, prevention, and proper vaccination are the leading measures to fight the pandemic.
However, many people are reluctant to take a COVID test based on nasal or throat swabs. It can be due to any reason, including any health issue, or simply due to the uncomfortable nature of the test. In such a situation, a saliva test proves to be a good option to increase the testing capacity and encourage more people to take it and the required treatment.
The Saliva COVID test is expected to cater to the testing needs and remove the bottleneck in the testing process since the emergence of the pandemic. Here are some further details about it.
What is the COVID Saliva test?
A COVID Saliva test refers to the testing method used for diagnosing COVID-19 using saliva of the affected person as a sample. Saliva is one of the elements with the highest tendency to spread coronavirus, making it a suitable sample for COVID testing. Several studies in this regard prove it to be a valuable and effective diagnostic tool for COVID testing as it is considered a reflection of our health.
Using saliva instead of nasal or throat swabs has dual benefits. It proves to be more comfortable for the people and also, safe for the healthcare workers. The possibility of coronavirus in the saliva of affected people is relatively high and confirmed with different studies. A virus may indicate infiltrated lungs that are difficult to detect through a nasopharyngeal swab test. COVID-19 is found to cause the most damage to infiltrated lungs. Early detection through tests might help limit the magnitude of damage caused by COVID-19.
Accuracy of the Test
The first question that comes to minds after hearing about the simple Saliva COVID test is regarding the accuracy of results. The sample is the only difference between a Nasopharyngeal swab (NP) test and a Saliva COVID test. The rest of the process follows the same suite. Several studies, including the one at Harvard Medical School, endorsed saliva as a sample for COVID testing. Results produced by this test are comparable to those produced by the NP swab test, with a probability of detecting the virus 90% times.
Moreover, clinical trials also prove it an effective testing measure of the coronavirus. Saliva is a better correlative of significant parameters, including immunity, disease severity, and impact of demographic variables on the vulnerability to disease. The results are also highly accurate except for the cases where there is an inadequate sample collection.
Why is the Saliva Test Needed?
Soon after the pandemic outbreak, it was identified that testing was crucial for the early diagnosis of the disease. It can ultimately limit the spread over a large population. However, the NP testing method used during earlier times had many limitations. Despite the logistical challenges, there was a shortage of protective gears and other necessary equipment, making it difficult to achieve the testing requirements.
Moreover, the prevalent testing practices were quite costly, and healthcare professionals were continuously looking for a cost-effective, quick, and simple testing method to increase the testing capacity. After extensive research and trials, experts introduced the COVID Saliva test that uses saliva as the testing sample for quick and easy detection of the virus.
How Does It Work?
Whether you are doing a self-administered test or collecting a sample at a test site, you must make sure the suitable collection of the sample is to enhance the validity of the test. Although the process is simple, you should make sure to follow the proper procedure. It would hardly take 15-20 minutes to collect enough samples. Here is a guide on collecting the sample for the Saliva COVID test.
- Take the test tube and uncover it. If your test tube comes with a straw, place it inside too.
- Sit in a relaxed position with an uncovered mouth. Let saliva gather in your mouth and avoid swallowing it.
- Bend your mouth over the test tube and let saliva go straight into it from your mouth. Do not spit or throw it forcefully.
- Keep repeating the drill until you reach the required level.
- Cover the test tube properly so that the saliva does not slip out and hand it over to the health care professional.
- If you are doing it at home, safely place the test tube aside for testing.
- Make sure to wash your hands before and after collecting the sample.
Once you handle the sample to healthcare workers, they test it using the essential enzymes or reagents and provide you with an online or physical report within 48-72 hours.
The saliva-based test for the diagnosis of COVID-19 has been termed as a “game-changer” in the war against COVID. It has become a widely adopted testing method due to the compelling benefits provided by this testing method. Some of the benefits are discussed here.
By far, the most significant benefit of the COVID saliva test is that it does not necessarily require patients to go to a clinic for sample collection. It facilitates individuals by enabling them to collect their testing sample independently, under adequate instructions. So, you can collect your saliva at home and send it for medical examination.
- Less Exposure for Health Care Workers
Due to the epidemic nature of COVID-19, health experts suggest reducing physical interaction as much as possible to reduce the risk of catching the virus. Health professionals are more prone to the virus during the nasal swab test where they contact the potentially affected patient. However, saliva tests are convenient as they limit the physical interaction between health workers and individuals.
- Quick and Simple
Unlike other testing methods, the saliva-based COVID test does not involve any complicated procedure. It is quite an easy-to-go and straightforward process. Also, it is pretty quick, saving a lot of time for individuals and health professionals. The elimination of the need for face-to-face interaction between health care workers and patients minimizes the risk of transmitting the disease at both ends. Moreover, the sample can be collected easily by the person himself without a professional.
- Optimal Use of Personal Protective Equipment
One of the significant issues that emerged with the break out of the pandemic was the shortage of personal protective equipment. They are crucial for the safety of health care workers. COVID saliva tests reduce the need for personal protective equipment for healthcare professionals as face-to-face contact is not necessary. Resultantly, optimal use of this equipment can be made possible by saving it for more crucial situations.
- Early Prediction of Severity
According to research conducted by Yale School of Medicine, saliva-based COVID-19 test is likely to predict the severity of the disease among patients at an early stage. An early prediction would result in early medication and, most probably, an early cure. It will prove to be a breakthrough if medical experts can know which patients need immediate treatment.
- Suitable for Children, Aged and Disabled
The process of sample collection through nasopharyngeal swabs is quite uncomfortable and invasive. Therefore, not considered suitable for children, elderly people, and those with specific disabilities. Such persons are sensitive and thus more prone to catching the virus. A saliva-based test facilitates sample collection of children and others uncomfortable with the nasal swab sampling process.
The results yielded with saliva COVID tests are as reliable as those with nasopharyngeal swab tests. The saliva collected as a sample is tested the same way as nasal mucus and, in some cases, provides even more accurate results. However, if the sample is not collected appropriately, it might not yield the desired results.
Downsides of COVID Saliva Test
Besides being highly effective for COVID testing, the Saliva COVID test also has its downsides. The false-negative rate of this test appears to be higher than that of the nasal or throat swab test. Although there is a possibility of a false-negative rate in every testing method, the Saliva COVID test has a high tendency in this regard. The person being tested must be made aware of the possible false-negative rate so that he observes preventive measures to limit the spread of the disease to others.
Another problem that might arise due to the lack of experience or expertise of the professionals conducting the test is that they might not know the operating characteristics of the test. During a Saliva COVID test, three different types of fluids are collected in saliva. If the testing professionals are inexperienced, they might not produce accurate results.
Things to Remember
It would help if you considered certain things before taking a saliva COVID test.
- Before the test, it is better to drink a lot of water and stay hydrated. Start drinking more water a day before the test and continue until you are ready for sample collection.
- If you want to eat anything, eat it until 30 minutes left for the test. Similarly, stop drinking half an hour before.
- Avoid smoking or consuming alcohol before the test. It would affect the quality of the sample and may produce ambiguous results.
- You should not use any kind of toothpaste, mouthwash, sprays, or chewing gum before the test. Otherwise, food particles would contaminate the sample.
- While collecting saliva in your mouth for sampling, avoid sniffing or coughing.
- Your sample should contain liquid saliva without any bubbles.
- In case of sampling another person, using a face mask and gloves is mandatory.
Applicability of The Test
Saliva testing is considered an appealing alternative to Nasopharyngeal swab testing despite the difference in sensitivity. Although saliva is less sensitive than the mucus collected through NP swab, it is still quite beneficial and yields almost similar results.
For Symptomatic Individuals
If Nasopharyngeal swab testing is not available for symptomatic individuals, Saliva testing can be a close alternative. It is better to carry out this test within five days of the appearance of symptoms for better examination.
For Asymptomatic Individuals
COVID Saliva test is more convenient and beneficial for asymptomatic individuals who can carry out tests repeatedly whenever needed. Working women or men who need to ensure safety due to occupational reasons can benefit from this saliva test in the comfort of their homes. Repeated tests increase the likelihood of detection of the virus despite the specimen being comparatively less sensitive.
Children are more uncomfortable and irritated with NP swab tests due to their invasive nature. The saliva test is an easy alternative for children. However, proper sampling under the supervision of an adult must be ensured. Otherwise, the probability of getting reliable results would be quite low.
Although health professionals use several PCR tests, there is still no perfect COVID-19 test available. However, the prevalent methods, including swab tests and saliva tests, are highly effective in serving the purpose of COVID testing.
According to professionals, there is a need to significantly increase the testing capacity to fight against the pandemic, and the Saliva COVID test helps step forward towards the goal. It is simple, economical, and equally effective in detecting the infection besides being comfortable. However, effective results can be yielded when the testing process is under experts' supervision.