A study co-authored by Dr. Dick Menzies, Senior Scientist in the RESP Program at the RI-MUHC and Associate Member of the Meakins-Christie Laboratories, reveals that saliva swabs are just as effective at detecting the COVID-19 virus as are nasopharyngeal swabs, but at a fraction of the cost and none of the discomfort.
Saliva swabs are just as effective and they can be self-collected. Thus, the expense of setting up and operating testing sites would be eliminated along with the cost of healthcare and other workers at those sites and the protective equipment required by those workers. Exposure of these workers to the virus would be eliminated and health professionals would be available to assist in other areas of healthcare.
“With over 75,000 tests being done per day in Canada, replacing nasopharyngeal swabs with saliva-based sampling methods would save half a million dollars every day,”Dr. Dick Menzies
Dr. Menzies and his team of researchers have discovered a win-win alternative to nasopharyngeal swabs. How soon can this new practice be implemented?
Read more about the study and the interview with Dr. Menzies:
- Article appearing on the RI-MUHC News site: Saliva samples for COVID-19 testing: as good as nasopharyngeal swabs, but cheaper New meta-analysis of 37 studies and over 7,000 paired saliva and nasopharyngeal swab samples, appearing on January 12, 2021
- Published Article: The Sensitivity and Costs of Testing for SARS-CoV-2 Infection With Saliva Versus Nasopharyngeal Swabs: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Bastos ML, Perlman-Arrow S, Menzies D, and Campbell JR. Ann Intern Med. 2021 Jan 12. doi: 10.7326/M20-6569. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33428446.