Test saliva is much easier on people with suspected infection, who when going to a testing center or trying to swab their nasal passages and the back of their mouth, using a test kit sent to their home. There are already regular routine health tests and care staff using tampons.The procedure is uncomfortable: the swab should be taken as far down the throat and nasal passages as possible, causing people to gag. It is thought the difficulty in obtaining samples is the main reason why the test swab results were not always accurate. A study has shown that up to 29% of the test swab can be wrong.
Announcement of the trial, Matt Hancock, the secretary for health, said: “The Saliva tests could potentially make it even easier for people to take coronavirus tests at home, without having to use tampons. This test will also let us know if routine, home tests could pick up cases of the virus sooner.
“I am very grateful to everyone involved in the trial for helping us develop our understanding of the virus, which will benefit not only us but the global response to it.”
Staff at the GP of Practices, other essential workers keys, university staff and their families will be among the first people to take part. The Test kits will be delivered either to their home or work place every week. This regular routine of testing thousands of people will also shed light on what proportion of people pick up the virus without showing symptoms.
All who participate must register with the test- and screening system, so that people they have been in contact with in the days before any positive test can be reached and asked to self-isolate .
The saliva test being piloted by the Department of Health and Human Services is produced by the UK molecular diagnostic company called Optigene, but the government is also looking at others.