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N Z Med J ; 135(1559): 53-58, 2022 08 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2147482


AIM: To compare detection of SARS-CoV-2 from paired nasopharyngeal swabs (NPS) and saliva using molecular methods in common use for testing swabs in New Zealand. METHOD: Samples from individuals testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin were tested at the local laboratories using methods previously established for these sample types. RESULTS: One hundred and ninety-six paired samples from unique individuals were tested, with 46 (23%) positive from either sample type, of which 43/46 (93%) tested positive from NPS, and 42/46 (91%) from saliva, indicating no significant difference in performance between sample types (p=0.69). The average Δ Ct between saliva and nasopharyngeal swabs overall across the sample set was 0.22 cycles, indicating excellent concordance; however, the difference between NPS and saliva collected from the same individual was quite variable with up to 19 cycles difference between the sample types. CONCLUSION: We found that saliva is an equivalent sample type to nasopharyngeal swab for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in our laboratories using multiple assay combinations and is suitable for use as a diagnostic and surveillance test for selected groups of individuals.

COVID-19 , Nucleic Acids , COVID-19/diagnosis , Clinical Laboratory Techniques/methods , Humans , Nasopharynx , New Zealand , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Saliva , Specimen Handling/methods