A new pilot program to validate the use of a saliva-based PCR test for coronavirus is set to commence at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv.
If the new type of test is validated, it will constitute important progress in combating the epidemic, given that the new test is non-invasive and does not utilize a nasal swab.
The pilot program will be conducted in collaboration with the central disease laboratory within the Health Ministry and Bar Ilan University, as part of the government’s ongoing efforts to develop new methods of dealing with the coronavirus epidemic.
The saliva test was developed by Dr. Amos Danieli of Bar Ilan University’s engineering faculty, funded and assisted by the Health Ministry as well as Healthcare Israel. As well as being simpler to use, it also produces faster results – just forty-five minutes until results are obtained, rather than the several hours which current tests require.
The tests will be performed under laboratory conditions with a sensitivity similar to a standard PCR test with a swab, which is the standard test used in the State of Israel and around the world. Those participating in the program will be drawn from various age groups and will submit both to a saliva test and to a regular nasal swab, in order to enable a comparison of the results and an assessment of the validity of the saliva test.
The pilot program will last around two weeks, until hundreds of tests have been conducted.