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Thursday, March 4, 2021

Saliva Covid-19 test method trialled at seven hospitals


COVID-19 | The Health Ministry is trialling the use of deep throat saliva as Covid-19 test samples at seven hospitals.

This is in lieu of the usual nose (nasopharyngeal) and throat (oropharyngeal) swabs performed for such tests.

Health Ministry director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said this evening that the ministry had yet to approve the use of such a sampling method.

“We are trialling the method on the field and seven hospitals have been identified to perform the trials - where we use the deep throat saliva method to conduct tests.

“This includes both RT-PCR and antigen-based rapid test kits (RTK-Ag).

“This is presently in the trial phase and we hope we can get a full report before we can propose the use of this deep throat saliva sampling method,” he said in a broadcasted press conference.

Last month, Health Minister Dr Adham Baba reportedly said the deep throat saliva sampling method would “soon” be used in some government hospitals.

This was after the Institute of Medical Research (IMR) scored the method 96.67 for sensitivity and full marks for specificity.

The method requires patients to produce their own saliva into a specimen cup before the cup is sent to a laboratory for testing. It is deemed less invasive than nose and throat swabs.

One week after Adham’s announcement, MyEG Services Bhd said it will be collaborating with healthcare service provider BP Healthcare to offer deep throat saliva-based Covid-19 testing.

The service was supposed to roll out on March 1 at RM150 per test but checks on both entities’ websites this evening found no mention of such a testing method. - Mkini

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