Saliva test may predict COVID-19 severity, Yale researchers say

Saliva tests are not only a less invasive way to screen for COVID-19, but could also be a predictor of which patients will develop severe cases, according to research from the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn. 

Researchers found a correlation between virus levels in a person's saliva and increasing disease severity. The presence of the virus in saliva means it's also likely gotten into a patient's lungs, where COVID-19 can cause the most damage, according to lead study author Akiko Iwasaki, PhD, an immunologist at Yale School of Medicine.

This information could help physicians identify patients who would benefit from early treatments like monoclonal antibodies.

The FDA granted a Yale-developed saliva test emergency use authorization in August 2020, but the test is still only being used in select labs. 

Yale's research was published on the preprint medical serve medRXiv in January and has not been peer reviewed. Researchers said they hope other organizations will conduct more work to support their findings to pave the way for FDA approval, which would make the test more widely available. 

More articles on patient safety and outcomes:
Asthma drug reduces risk of COVID-19 hospitalization by 90%, study suggests
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36% of US adults have skipped, delayed care during pandemic, report finds

 

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