Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic nasopharyngeal or nose and/or throat swabs (NTS) have been the primary approach for collecting patient samples for the subsequent detection of viral RNA. However, this procedure, if undertaken correctly, can be unpleasant and therefore deters individuals from providing high quality samples. To overcome these limitations other modes of sample collection have been explored. In a cohort of frontline health care workers we have compared saliva and gargle samples to gold-standard NTS. 93% of individuals preferred providing saliva or gargle samples, with little sex-dependent variation. Viral titers collected in samples were analyzed using standard methods and showed that gargle and saliva were similarly comparable for identifying COVID-19 positive individuals compared to NTS (92% sensitivity; 98% specificity). We suggest that gargle and saliva collection are viable alternatives to NTS swabs and may encourage testing to provide better disease diagnosis and population surveillance.
|Journal||Diagnostic microbiology and infectious disease|
|Early online date||26 May 2022|
|Publication status||Published - Sep 2022|
- COVID-19 Testing
- RNA, Viral/genetics
- Specimen Handling/methods