SEP 02, 2020 10:00 AM SGT

SalivaDirect Simple and sensitive molecular diagnostic test for SARS-CoV-2 surveillance with Live Q&A



Current bottlenecks for improving accessibility and scalability of SARS-CoV-2 testing include diagnostic assay costs, complexity, and supply chain shortages. To resolve these issues, we developed SalivaDirect. The critical component of our approach is to use saliva instead of respiratory swabs, which enables non-invasive frequent sampling and reduces the need for trained healthcare professionals during collection. Furthermore, we simplified our diagnostic test by (1) not requiring nucleic acid preservatives at sample collection, (2) replacing nucleic acid extraction with a simple proteinase K and heat treatment step, and (3) testing specimens with a dualplex quantitative reverse transcription PCR (RT-qPCR) assay. We validated SalivaDirect with reagents and instruments from multiple vendors to minimize the risk for supply chain issues. Regardless of our tested combination of reagents and instruments from different vendors, we found that SalivaDirect is highly sensitive with a limit of detection of 6-12 SARS-CoV-2 copies/μL. When comparing paired nasopharyngeal swabs and saliva specimens using the authorized ThermoFisher Scientific TaqPath COVID-19 combo kit and our SalivaDirect protocol, we found high agreement in testing outcomes (>94%). Being flexible and inexpensive ($1.29-$4.37/sample), SalivaDirect is a viable and accessible option to help alleviate SARS-CoV-2 testing demands. SalivaDirect received Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA on August 15th, 2020. Details can be found on our website:

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