No More Nasal Swabs?
Pilot to examine accuracy of swab-free, saliva-based PCR tests
A pilot to authenticate saliva-based (in place of swab-based) PCR tests has begun. The pilot is a collaboration between the Central Virology Laboratory at the Ministry of Health and Bar-Ilan University, as part of a joint endeavor to identify and develop new technologies in the framework of the national effort to combat COVID-19, together with the Administration for Technological Infrastructure of the Ministry of Defense and Healthcare Israel of the Ministry of Health. The test is non-invasive and does not include a swab.
The PCR test was developed by Dr. Amos Danielli, of the Kofkin Faculty of Engineering at Bar-Ilan University, with funding and support from Healthcare Israel and the Administration for the Development of Technological Infrastructure of the Ministry of Defense. The new test shortens the time it takes to receive results to 45 minutes, rather than a number of hours. Data and sensitivity efficacy, following trials conducted under laboratory conditions and using devices developed by Magbiosense, the company commercializing the technology, has yielded performance levels similar to those of a standard PCR test with a swab, the standard test currently administered in the State of Israel and around the world.
During the trials both saliva samples and regular swabs will be collected from people of different ages in order to compare the comfort and safety of saliva sampling, as well as determine the authenticity of the results in relation to the standard PCR test and other systemic ramifications.
The pilot will run for approximately two weeks, until the hundreds of tests required by regulators to certify the technology are collected.