New saliva-based antibody test for SARS-COV-2 highly accurate in initial study

24 Nov, 2020

The test could prove useful for large-scale screening and epidemiological surveys and cuts down on reliance on blood draws

A new saliva-based test developed by a team at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has been found to accurately detect the presence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, from small samples of saliva. Such tests, the results of which can be obtained in a matter of hours, are seen as potential alternatives to blood-sample antibody tests for research and clinical use.

The test is based on multiple fragments, or "antigens," from the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, mostly from its outer spike and nucleocapsid proteins. In a study of the test's accuracy, researchers found that their test detected antibodies to several of these antigens in saliva samples from all 24 participants who had confirmed SARS-CoV-2 exposure and whose symptoms had begun more than two weeks prior to the test. The test also reliably yielded negative results for saliva samples that had been collected from people prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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