Saliva is a non-invasive, sensitive alternative to respiratory swabs for the diagnosis of COVID-19. We have shown in this study that from 145 paired clinical samples that saliva is consistent, and in some instances superior to swabbing. In addition, we use cultured virus to show the analytical sensitivity of saliva is 100 folds higher than swabs.
Easy to collect samples, such as saliva, have numerous benefits as we continue towards the first global peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the UK this will improve compliance to surveillance programs due to the painless collection as well as support the governments push towards at home sampling. In resource limited settings saliva can reduce the burden of global shortages of swabs and transport media which are already impacting testing capabilities.