A woman spits into a tube so that her saliva can be tested for the presence of the novel coronavirus.
By Robert F. ServiceAug. 24, 2020 , 5:00 PM
Sciences COVID-19 reporting is supported by the Pulitzer Center and the Heising-Simons Foundation.
First, a technician pushes a pencil-length swab to the very back of your nasal passages. Then you pay $100 or more, and wait days for an answer. But faster, cheaper, more pleasant ways to test for the novel coronavirus are coming online. This month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization for two tests that sample saliva instead of nasal fluid, and more innovations are likely after FDA relaxed rules to allow new tests to be adopted more quickly. One candidate was announced last week: an experimental test, potentially faster and cheaper, that analyzes saliva in a new way.
There is real promise here, says Anne Wyllie, a microbiologist at Yale University who helped develop one of the new tests authorized this month. Takanori Teshima, chief of laboratory medicine at Hokkaido University, who also reported successful results testing saliva, agrees. It will have a big impact worldwide.
When SARS-CoV-2, the respiratory virus that causes COVID-19, emerged in December 2019, researchers scrambled to develop tests to detect the virus. Initially, they turned to a long-trusted technique for diagnosing respiratory infections: looking for viral genetic material in mucosal fluid, thought to be the best hunting ground for a respiratory virus, collected from deep in a patients nasal passages. Thats where the 15-centimeter swab comes in. The swab goes into a plastic tube with a chemical mixture that stabilizes the virus during transport to a diagnostics lab. There, technicians extract its genetic material and load it into a machine to carry out the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which amplifies snippets of genetic material unique to the virus.
The procedure accurately identifies infections about 95% of the time. But the test is uncomfortable and, because collecting the swab requires close contact with patients, it puts medical personnel at risk of contracting the virus. Nobody wants to do that job, Teshima says.
Testing saliva for SARS-CoV-2 was no sure thing. Studies with other respiratory diseases showed saliva tests identified only about 90% of people for whom swab tests indicated an infection. But the appeal of an easier and safer test for the new coronavirus led researchers to try. People being tested simply drool into a bar-coded plastic tube, seal it, and drop it in a pouch thats shipped to a lab for PCR analysis. Because the procedure directly tests the fluid responsible for transmitting the virus between people, it may give a better indication of who is most contagious, says Paul Hergenrother, a chemist at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), who led his universitys saliva test development.
As early as 12 February, researchers in Hong Kong and China reported inClinical Infectious Diseasesthat they couldidentify SARS-CoV-2 from salivain 11 of 12 patients whose swabs showed virus. Since then, groups in the United States, Singapore, and Japan have confirmed and further simplified the procedures, cutting out costly steps such as adding specialized reagents to stabilize the virus during transport and extract the genetic material.
In May, Wyllie and Yale colleagues teamed up with the National Basketball Association, which provided $500,000 to develop Yales saliva test; the test is now used for frequently testing players. On 4 August, the Yale team posted a preprint on medRxiv that said its saliva testagreed with swab results 94% of the time, at a cost of as little as $1.29 per sample, roughly 1/100 as much as commercial swab-based tests. On 15 August, FDA granted emergency approval for the SalivaDirect test, so that other FDA-approved labs can use the protocol. Last week, the agency extended approval to the UIUC test given its similarity to the Yale test. UIUC is now using its saliva test to test all 60,000 students, faculty, and staff twice a week, so they can isolate infected individuals as quickly as possible. Testing saliva makes sense scientifically, and it makes sense logistically, Hergenrother says.
Anew saliva test for RNA viruses, such as Zika and SARS-CoV-2, was reported last week inScience Advancesby researchers at the University at Albany. It could be even faster and cheaper because it does not need expensive lab equipment such as PCR machines. Rather than amplifying RNA to identify the virus, the approach uses snippets of DNA that bind to short, unique sections of RNA and change them from linear strands to loops. That alters how the RNA behaves in a common lab procedure known as gel electrophoresis, making it easy to detect. This is innovative, Wyllie says.
A relaxation of FDA rules announced last week could lead to still more variants. The new rules allow approved clinical labs to use tests they have developed without any additional approval step. In a tweet, Michael Mina, an epidemiologist at Harvard Universitys T.H. Chan School of Public Health, called FDAs decision Huge news!! because it would encourage labs to develop novel tests. It may also help speed development ofrapid tests that look for viral proteinsrather than genetic materialan efficient way to screen large numbers of asymptomatic people.
We dont need one test to be the end all and be all, Wyllie says. We just want options.
Originally posted here:
- How We'll Know When The COVID-19 Crisis Is Over - NPR - July 12th, 2021
- Lambda Variant Of Covid-19 Coronavirus Is Spreading, What You Need To Know - Forbes - July 12th, 2021
- New Zealand, where Covid-19 is dormant, fights another respiratory virus, and other news from around the world. - The New York Times - July 12th, 2021
- Bat Scientists Warn That the World May Never Know Covid-19 Origins - The Wall Street Journal - July 12th, 2021
- FLORIDA Florida reports rise in coronavirus cases over the past week WINK NEWS - Wink News - July 12th, 2021
- Breath-Based Coronavirus Tests Are Being Developed - The New York Times - July 12th, 2021
- Fauci says there should be more coronavirus vaccine mandates at the local level - Anchorage Daily News - July 12th, 2021
- South Africa extends tight COVID-19 restrictions for another 14 days - Reuters - July 12th, 2021
- COVID-19: What you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic on 9 July - World Economic Forum - July 12th, 2021
- Coronavirus cases in the Netherlands surge more than 800% in one week - BNO News - July 12th, 2021
- Over three-quarters of Britons re-evaluate their lives during Covid - The Guardian - July 12th, 2021
- COVID outbreaks: Where are the worst COVID-19 surges in the world? - Deseret News - July 12th, 2021
- Israel offers third shot of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to adults at risk - Reuters - July 12th, 2021
- Americans will need masks indoors as U.S. heads for 'dangerous fall' with surge in delta Covid cases - CNBC - July 12th, 2021
- Rob Schneiders Tweets About Covid-19 Vaccines Got These Responses - Forbes - July 12th, 2021
- Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today - The New York Times - April 20th, 2021
- 173 infected in new coronavirus outbreaks at 41 schools, says Michigans April 19 school outbreak report - mlive.com - April 20th, 2021
- Coronavirus in Michigan: Heres what to know April 18, 2021 - WDIV ClickOnDetroit - April 20th, 2021
- Heres what it would take to cut Ohios coronavirus cases in half - cleveland.com - April 20th, 2021
- U.K. Coronavirus Strain Does Not Lead To More Severe Illness And Death, Study Finds - NPR - April 20th, 2021
- Coronavirus cases trend down in Ohio after weeks of increases; hospitalizations still up - latest trends and - cleveland.com - April 20th, 2021
- Florida mother and nurse finally leaves hospital after 111 days fighting coronavirus - FOX 35 Orlando - April 20th, 2021
- What the Coronavirus Variants Mean for Testing - The New York Times - April 20th, 2021
- How the Coronavirus Variants Are Spreading in New York City - The New York Times - April 20th, 2021
- Cleveland Indians trending toward 85% vaccination rate for coronavirus - cleveland.com - April 20th, 2021
- Covenant Health closes all drive-thru coronavirus testing sites - KLBK | KAMC | EverythingLubbock.com - April 20th, 2021
- Four Astros on COVID-19 list tentatively set to rejoin team - Houston Chronicle - April 20th, 2021
- No, Having Raw Onions And Salt Cannot Cure Coronavirus - The Quint - April 20th, 2021
- COVID-19 in South Dakota: 133 total new cases; Death toll remains at 1,953; Active cases at 2,153 - KELOLAND.com - April 20th, 2021
- Covid updates: U.S. cases and hospitalizations drop; Mexico close to approving Russian vaccine - CNBC - February 4th, 2021
- One Emergency After Another: Wisconsin Governor And Legislators Battle Over COVID-19 - NPR - February 4th, 2021
- Dr. Fauci On Vaccinations And Biden's 'Refreshing' Approach To COVID-19 - NPR - February 4th, 2021
- EmitBio Demonstrates New Treatment Is Effective Against Multiple Types Of Coronavirus - The Mountaineer - February 4th, 2021
- A Year Into The Pandemic, What's Driving Varied Coronavirus Rates Across Wisconsin? - WisContext - February 4th, 2021
- Disinfecting a Car to Protect Against Germs, Coronavirus - Healthline - February 4th, 2021
- Why same 84 Ohio counties are on coronavirus red alert again this week, though orange counties arent at bott - cleveland.com - February 4th, 2021
- The shift from nought to hedonism overnight was too much for this lockdown zombie - Evening Standard - December 17th, 2020
- An impressive, multi-layered combination of players and instruments - Morning Star Online - December 17th, 2020
- Londoners party on eve of tougher COVID restrictions - Reuters UK - December 17th, 2020
- Judge to decide whether her rulings deprived Ross Harris of fair trial - Atlanta Journal Constitution - December 17th, 2020
- Review: 'Ferdinand, the Man With the Kind Heart,' by Irmgard Keun - Minneapolis Star Tribune - December 17th, 2020
- Government take heed: Some goals are best achieved indirectly - The Daily Telegram - December 17th, 2020
- Blind Evolution Explained Everything - Discovery Institute - December 17th, 2020
- Melii And Sainvil Bubble With Tension In New Visual For HBK - RESPECT. - December 17th, 2020
- The Weekend Edit: Party Like It's 2021! - The Handbook - December 17th, 2020
- How to be happy | | bryantimes.com - The Bryan Times - December 17th, 2020
- Chadwick Bosemans final performance in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is one of searching intensity - iNews - December 17th, 2020
- Leeds pubs and bars react as Tier 3 rule remains meaning they can't open to customers at Christmas - Yorkshire Evening Post - December 17th, 2020
- My Favorite Fiction of 2020 - The New Yorker - December 17th, 2020
- BRIAN JOSEPH: On the joy and importance of small pleasures during COVID - TheChronicleHerald.ca - December 17th, 2020
- The Hanukkah Menorah to Light Up the World - jewishboston.com - December 17th, 2020
- The joy of a canceled Christmas - The Spectator US - December 17th, 2020
- A top 10 list of the best banned literary filth - The Irish Times - December 17th, 2020
- 'The Stand' Early Buzz: The CBS All Access Stephen King Adaptation Gets Mixed Results - /FILM - December 17th, 2020
- FWD Transmissions: SHE Spells Doom - Drums of Affliction - Electronic Beats - December 5th, 2020
- 'Star Trek: Discovery' offers a better take with season 3, episode 8 'The Sanctuary' - Space.com - December 5th, 2020
- Can hypnotherapy root away your ailments? - Times of India - December 5th, 2020
- The Mandalorian: What Did Baby Yoda See In The Force? - Screen Rant - December 5th, 2020
- MR.BLACK brings the heat with reggae rave anthem 'Feel The Fire' on Showtek's label - We Rave You - December 5th, 2020
- Study: Ancient California Teens Took Hallucinogens as Part of Sacred Ritual Free Press of Jacksonville - Jacksonville Free Press - December 5th, 2020
- The 15 Best Techno Tracks of November 2020 - Magnetic Magazine - December 5th, 2020
- 9 fugas and Marygoround are the winning European titles at the Gijn Film Festival - Cineuropa - December 5th, 2020
- Harry, Meghan and memories of Princess Diana: The dark side of royalty - The Financial Express - December 5th, 2020
- W&W iconic festival anthem 'Lift Off!' turns 8 years old - We Rave You - December 5th, 2020
- Timmy Trumpet: I love people and that's what I miss the most about touring - We Rave You - December 5th, 2020
- What Are the Differences Between Trance and Techno? - One EDM - December 5th, 2020
- Suszynski: Knowing through imagination | VailDaily.com - Vail Daily News - December 5th, 2020
- Notice of prolongation of redemption date and partial redemption of convertible bonds PKG5 - GlobeNewswire - December 5th, 2020
- Trump Embraces Fringe Theories on Protests and the Coronavirus - The New York Times - August 31st, 2020
- Governor Cuomo Announces New Record High Number of COVID-19 Tests Reported to New York State - ny.gov - August 31st, 2020
- How Italy's 'father of the swabs' fought the coronavirus - Science Magazine - August 31st, 2020
- Alaska coronavirus Q&A: How are people here getting COVID-19? And what's the deal with testing numbers? - Anchorage Daily News - August 31st, 2020
- Coronavirus news of the week (VIDEO) - Live Science - August 31st, 2020
- A case of coronavirus reinfection shows the complexities of the pandemic - The Verge - August 31st, 2020
- How Minnesota's biggest beef producer is weathering the coronavirus - Minneapolis Star Tribune - August 31st, 2020
- When the Threat of Eviction Meets the Threat of Coronavirus - The New York Times - August 31st, 2020
- Coronavirus worries force election officials to get creative - Wink News - August 31st, 2020
- This Trawlers Haul: Evidence That Antibodies Block the Coronavirus - The New York Times - August 20th, 2020
- NIH imposes 'outrageous' conditions on resuming coronavirus grant targeted by Trump - Science Magazine - August 20th, 2020
- Coronavirus updates: University of North Carolina temporarily suspends fall sports; Pope warns against the rich getting vaccine first - USA TODAY - August 20th, 2020