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Abstract

Saliva has recently been proposed as a suitable specimen for the diagnosis of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Use of saliva as a diagnostic specimen may present opportunities for SARS-CoV-2 reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing in remote and low-resource settings. Determining the stability of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in saliva over time is an important step in determining optimal storage and transport times. We undertook an study to assess whether SARS-CoV-2 could be detected in contrived saliva samples. The contrived saliva samples comprised 10 ml pooled saliva spiked with gamma-irradiated SARS-CoV-2 to achieve a concentration of 2.58×10 copies ml SARS-CoV-2, which was subsequently divided into 2 ml aliquots comprising: (i) neat saliva; and a 1 : 1 dilution with (ii) normal saline; (iii) viral transport media, and (iv) liquid Amies medium. Contrived samples were made in quadruplicate, with two samples of each stored at either: (i) room temperature or (ii) 4 °C. SARS-CoV-2 was detected in all SARS-CoV-2 spiked samples at time point 0, day 1, 3 and 7 at both storage temperatures using the N gene RT-PCR assay and time point 0, day 1 and day 7 using the Xpert Xpress SARS-CoV-2 (Cepheid, Sunnyvale, USA) RT-PCR assay. The ability to detect SARS-CoV-2 in saliva over a 1 week period is an important finding that presents further opportunities for saliva testing as a diagnostic specimen for the diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2.

  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. This article was made open access via a Publish and Read agreement between the Microbiology Society and the corresponding author’s institution.
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/content/journal/jmm/10.1099/jmm.0.001285
2020-12-03
2021-11-30
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