Research Shows Saliva Test For COVID-19 As Effective As Nasal Swab Test

Aug 20, 2020, 5:00 PM | Updated: 9:41 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – New research done by teams with University of Utah Health and ARUP Laboratories show saliva testing for COVID-19 is just as effective as the deep nasal swab test many people have had.

“We’re excited based on the results,” said Dr. Kimberly Hanson, an infectious disease physician with University of Utah Health. “We’re able to show with pretty robust confidence that we think in our statistics, that saliva looks to be just as effective as the standard deep swab.”

Their study is based on research involving more than 350 people, who volunteered to be tested at the Redwood Clinic.

It showed COVID-19 was detected in 90% of the patients who truly ended up testing positive for the virus, which doctors said is nearly the same positivity rate as the nasal swab.

“It’s gone through the scientific process, the peer review process, and is now published electronically in a high-quality medical journal, and I think that answers a lot of those concerns about is this really a valid test. It clearly is,” said Dr. Richard Orlandi, chief medical officer with University of Utah Health.

Patients spit into a tube to a designated fill line.

That tube is then capped, sealed and given to the medical worker administering the test.

At this point, even though it’s an easy test, doctors said it’s not one anyone can do at home just yet for quality control concerns.

“At this point, the FDA only authorizes saliva testing if the sample is collected in a healthcare facility or being observed by a healthcare worker,” said Dr. Julio Delgado, chief medical officer with ARUP.

The saliva test is less invasive for patients and safer for healthcare workers collecting the sample.

“Because spitting saliva into a tube is less likely to generate infectious aerosols,” said Hanson. “So, the providers helping to collect the saliva sample may not need to wear all the heavy personal protective equipment that we have them wear for the deeper sampling.”

Test results can be known in eight to 10 hours for high priority patients showing symptoms who may need to be hospitalized.

For people not showing symptoms using drive-thru testing sites, results can generally come back in 24 to 48 hours.

Doctors hope to have the test ready for the public to begin using in Utah in a couple of weeks.

The group’s research test publication can be found here.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories


People line up for nucleic acid testing in Sanya, 'China's Hawaii', on August 6. (VCG/Getty Images)...
Simone McCarthy and CNN's Beijing bureau

Covid lockdown strands 80,000 tourists in ‘China’s Hawaii’

Around 80,000 tourists are stranded in the popular resort city of Sanya on China's tropical Hainan island after authorities announced lockdown measures to stem an outbreak of Covid-19.
2 days ago
TOKYO, JAPAN - JUNE 29: Women in rental kimonos walk through the Asakusa area on June 29, 2022 in T...
Lilit Marcus, CNN

Japan is open to travel. So why aren’t tourists coming back?

Even though Japan partially reopened its borders for tourists, only about 1,500 visitors went to the country during its peak travel season.
9 days ago
President Joe Biden removes his mask as he delivers remarks on the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 ...
ZEKE MILLER, Associated Press

Biden tests positive for COVID-19, returns to isolation

The White House says President Joe Biden tested positive for COVID-19 again Saturday, slightly more than three days after he was cleared to exit coronavirus isolation.
10 days ago
ATLANTA, GA - UNDATED:  This undated handout photo from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent...
Jed Boal

U of U researcher joins international team to confirm specific origin of COVID-19

New research released Tuesday confirmed the origin of COVID-19. A University of Utah Health and an international team of researchers found that the earliest cases of COVID-19 in humans emerged at a wholesale fish market in Wuhan, China in December 2019.
14 days ago
U.S. President Joe Biden gives the thumbs up while reacting to questions from the press about how h...
CHRIS MEGERIAN, Associated Press

Doctor: Biden’s COVID symptoms ‘almost completely resolved’

President Joe Biden's COVID-19 symptoms have “almost completely resolved," according to a new note from his doctor released Monday.
15 days ago
Employees check out customers at the 2nd Street second hand store, on Monday, July 19, 2021, in the...
Alaa Elassar and Kacey Cherry, CNN

Indoor mask mandate may be reinstated in LA County amid high COVID-19 transmission level

Los Angeles County is maintaining a high COVID-19 community level, which means a universal indoor masking mandate could be enacted as soon as next week, health officials say.
18 days ago

Sponsored Articles

tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...

Utah voters 50+ support increased access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
Research Shows Saliva Test For COVID-19 As Effective As Nasal Swab Test