New saliva test for coronavirus piloted in Southampton

A new COVID-19 testing model using a ‘no-swab’ saliva test is to be piloted in Southampton from this week.

Over 14,000 GP staff, other essential key workers and university staff and their households will participate in the first phase of the trial

Samples will be collected by University of Southampton staff or returned to an agreed location on a weekly basis and participants will receive test results within 48 hours.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said “Saliva testing could potentially make it even easier for people to take coronavirus tests at home, without having to use swabs. This trial will also help us learn if routine, at-home testing could pick up cases of the virus earlier.”

“I am very grateful to everyone involved in the trial who is helping us develop our understanding of the virus which will benefit not only our but the global response to it.”

The new saliva test is hoped to support increasing testing capacity and accessibility.

The pilot will be jointly led by Southampton City Council, the University of Southampton and the NHS, alongside a wider network of public services in Hampshire.

Other no-swab saliva-based coronavirus tests are also being explored with companies, including Chronomics, Avacta, MAP Science and Oxford Nanoimaging.