Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 32 n° 335

Saliva samples are as effective as naso-pharingeal swabs for COVID-19 molecular diagnosis

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 23 ottobre 2020

Roma. Saliva samples are ideal for virus detection, and can be used with an already available commercial system, fast and sensitive. This is the main outcome of a research just published on Viruses journal, carried out by the National Institute of Infectious Diseases “Lazzaro Spallanzani” (INMI) in Rome in cooperation with the Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital in Rome, the University College of London and the DiaSorin biomedical company. The aim of the research, which was carried out on the largest number of patients and samples analyzed so far in the world, over a period of several months, was to precisely verify how saliva samples behave in terms of sensitivity in virus detection through the entire course of infection. Study results clearly show that saliva samples are as good as nasopharyngeal swabs (NFS) and Bronco-alveolar lavages (BAL), currently used as a gold standard for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 through RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction). Saliva samples are easy and safer to collect than NFS and, of course, BAL; the study carried out at INMI demonstrates that they are equally reliable. This evidence opens a new perspective to the biomedical industry as well: we can expect a new generation of diagnostic systems allowing virus detection in a simpler and faster way, but just as reliable as those currently used. The research team analyzed 337 saliva samples from 164 patients admitted to the INMI hospital facility, then compared them with respective NFS. Results showed a very high concordance degree of saliva test results with NFS results. Both viral loads, as showed by CT values (Cycle Treshold Value) in molecular tests, and duration of viral shedding, lasting up 100 days, were virtually superimposable to NFS results. For patients with severe symptoms the comparison of saliva tests, for the first time, was extended to BAL tests, and again test results were highly concordant. The testing system used to analyze saliva samples, produced by the Italian company DiaSorin, is a widely available commercial solution, currently used to perform NFS tests, recently CE marked also for saliva testing, not requiring separate extraction, able to get test results in just over an hour. This solution is therefore particularly suitable for timely testing, even if testing format allows for just few tests at once, and is therefore more suitable for urgent confirmation of rapid tests carried out with other methods. This study is also a scientific base for its use in a beta test currently ongoing in the Lazio region, aimed for COVID-19 screening in kindergartens. The project involves the collection of a single salivary sample, which is first analyzed with a rapid antigen test. In case of positivity, the same salivary sample is analyzed with the rapid molecular test for final confirmation. The whole process ends within a few hours, allowing early and timely containment measures.Licia Bordi, Giuseppe Sberna, Eleonora Lalle, Pierluca Piselli, Francesca Colavita, Emanuele Nicastri, Andrea Antinori, Evangelo Boumis, Nicola Petrosillo, Luisa Marchioni, Giulia Minnucci, Elena D’Agostini, Concetta Castilletti, Franco Locatelli, Alimuddin Zumla, Giuseppe Ippolito and Maria Rosaria Capobianchi on behalf of INMI ReCOVeRI Study Group, Frequency and Duration of SARS-CoV-2 Shedding in Oral Fluid Samples Assessed by a Modified Commercial Rapid Molecular Assay. Viruses, October 20, 2020, doi:


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