New saliva Covid-19 test being developed in Cambridge

120221 NEW COVID TEST ANG/SANGER
New saliva Covid-19 test being developed in Cambridge Credit: Wellcome Sanger Institute

A new saliva test for Covid-19 to replace the current nose and throat swab testing, is being developed by scientists in Cambridge.

The Wellcome Sanger Institute is behind the new test which would be easier and more comfortable to use.

The new method could eventually be used for home testing.

The institute also aims to use genetic sequencing of the sample, which would reduce the risk of potential ‘false positive’ or ‘false negative’ results, and could potentially be scaled up to facilitate population-level testing .

Currently, the most widely-used testing strategy in the UK requires a nasal swab to be taken from deep in the mucous membrane.

Swabs are then sent to a laboratory to be processed. The laboratory process takes around four hours and requires expensive equipment that is not portable.

Scientists say the new test has the benefit of easier sample collection and a simpler laboratory process.