Faster, easier to do (and less hassle). So are the new tests to detect the coronavirus

We never tire of repeating it: against coronavirus, prevention. And this prevention includes washing your hands often with soap and water, not touching your face, maintaining social distance and wearing a hygienic mask (disposable or not). But when all else fails and contagion is suspected, it's time to get the famous cocravirus detection test. Until now there were only two ways to know if we had passed the disease or were infected: either to take a blood test to detect antibodies in the blood or to go through the annoying trance of being put a swab through the nose to the bottom. Good thing scientists have gone to work to develop a new series of tests to detect coronavirus faster, cheaper and, above all, less annoying. The key to everything is in our saliva.

Coronavirus can be detected in the mouth

An article published on the scientific platform medRxiv has confirmed what researchers already suspected from the beginning of the pandemic: there are other ways to detect coronavirus in a person and are as easy to choose as asking them to open their mouths and say "A".

This article compares the results obtained analyzing samples from Covid-19 patients extracted with nasopharyngeal swabs and saliva samples and they concluded that the latter have some advantages worth taking into account. Not only were they able to detect people who are having the disease at that time (which is very useful because we remember that the infection does not always give symptoms), but they also have the plus that patients can do themselves tests with reliable results.


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The FDA approves the use of the new tests to detect the coronavirus

In view of the results, it is not surprising that the agency that is in charge in the United States for giving the ok to medicines has chosen to give the new check, also, to these saliva tests to detect the coronavirus. The FDA has approved the emergency use of a new, low-cost, non-invasive test developed by the Yale School of Public Health.. They have given it the unglamorous name of SalivaDirect and it is available to everyone.

Does this mean that we will soon get rid of including the term PCR in our pandemic vocabulary? Well actually … not because the second step of the test always involves sequencing the DNA. What the Yale system proposes is to simplify the process at the beginning (which is what interests us most to patients), replacing the torture of the swab or analysis with a saliva sample that is combined with an enzyme and leaving aside the expensive reagents that have been used up more than once during this crisis and nullifying the problem that nasopharyngeal samples, not only they are annoying to carry out (and bear) but are sometimes poorly taken.

The Spanish initiative for our own saliva test

The Spanish option to saliva tests to detect the coronavirus is even more hopeful. Scientists at the Carlos III Hospital in Madrid They have worked on a test that measures the presence of antibodies in saliva because they are in charge of "telling us" if we have an infection (we insist, even if we have no symptoms) or if we have passed it.


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In principle, it is possible to detect these immunoglobulins in saliva even before they can be detected in the blood and with the added advantage that you save the puncture. As they make an appearance very early in saliva, that means that this Spanish test allows detecting people infected with coronavirus and who do not show symptoms of infection. And the best of all: PCR is not needed unless you want to confirm a specific case because the laboratory results give a good reliability to the system.

In this test, which has been developed in collaboration with the United Kingdom, the patient only has to pour the saliva into a tube, mix it with a specially designed liquid and place a test strip that in contact with saliva and liquid informs in 10 minutes if the person has passed the disease (and is not contagious) or if it is happening at that time. At the moment, it is being tested at Manchester Airport and the results are awaiting before mass production of the test.

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