Ottawa company developing COVID-19 spit test
OTTAWA -- If you’ve had a COVID-19 test done, you’ve probably felt it in your nose.
Now, an Ottawa company has developed a saliva-based test, and it’s something you might one day be able to do from home.
In Canada, the kit is still in the experimental stage and approved for research only.
Dr. Stephanie Johnson-Obaseki with the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute says testing for the research was done at the COVID-19 assessment centre at Brewer Park Arena. Patients first did a nose swab, then the spit test.
“Swab testing picked up more positives than the saliva.”
Dr. Johnson-Obaseki does say, that in some cases the saliva test did pick up positives, which the swab test missed.
“Neither test is perfect; it seems that the swab is slightly superior in terms of accuracy.”
It’s a test that is less intrusive, and uses spit instead of a nose swab; making it more accessible and tolerable.
“It can be done in your home, or it can be sent to remote areas and shipped back to a lab. The idea would be to test as many people as possible.”
She also says that the test is also more comfortable for anyone who has to be tested on a regular basis, or for use with children.
The test is manufactured by Ottawa company DNA Genotek and is already being used in some parts of the US and Europe, according to company vice-president of innovation Rafal Iwasiow.
“This is a good story for us; we’re doing our part to support the efforts… If we believe one of the ways of stopping the spread is testing more, then this allows you to reach a broader population,” Iwasiow said.
Ottawa Public Health says if kits are approved and produce similar results as the swab test, we could one day see the kit rolled out in Ottawa.