Singapore Approves Saliva Testing For Travellers’ Pre-Departure Covid-19 Test On 2 Dec

Most of us were initially thrown off by the idea of having to insert a swab stick into our nose for Covid-19 tests, but regular swabbing has since become a part of our lives.

Thankfully, a much less invasive and uncomfortable testing method will become available.

On 2 Dec, Singapore reportedly approved the use of saliva testing as an option for Covid-19 pre-departure tests.

A study has also deemed saliva testing more sensitive compared to nasal swab methods.

Not all countries accept saliva testing for travellers

Recently, Singapore approved saliva testing as another option for Covid-19 pre-departure tests.

Local biomedical firm, Lucence, has reportedly begun working with clinics and telemedicine providers to offer saliva testing for travellers planning to go overseas.

saliva testing travellersSource

Notably, not all countries accept saliva-based pre-departure tests yet.

On their website, Lucence added that travellers are expected to check the prevailing travel advisories of their destination countries to determine if saliva testing is accepted.

Currently, countries such as the United States, Australia, Canada, and Japan accept saliva-based pre-departure tests, reported The Straits Times (ST).

Study finds saliva tests more sensitive than swab tests

Compared to the swab tests we’ve now become familiar with, saliva-based tests for Covid-19 have been touted as the preferred method of testing.

This is in part due to its non-invasive and less uncomfortable nature.

But a study has also found that saliva samples are more sensitive to the virus than oral or nasal swabs.

In the study, saliva samples of 200 Singapore migrant workers were collected for Covid-19 tests in Jun 2020.

The results showed saliva samples were better at detecting asymptomatic or mild infections.

It was sponsored by Changi Airport and led by National University of Singapore (NUS) as well as Lucence.

Saliva Covid-19 tests available at 2 clinics

According to ST, Lucence chief executive, Dr Tan Min-Han said many families with young children and elderly people have shown interest in saliva testing since it was approved on 2 Dec.

Source

These groups of people, he added, tended to be more afraid of nasal swabs.

Lucence’s saliva collection kit, dubbed Safer-Sample, was registered as a medical device with Health Sciences Authority in Jun 2020.

The test process is simple — 2ml of saliva is collected through a funnel connected to a collection tube.

Stabilisation fluid containing a reagent is then mixed into the sample, stabilising the viral RNA at room temperature.

Samples will then be sent to Lucence for analysis.

Saliva Covid-19 test results are available within 24 hours and they are priced similarly to typical polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests which go from $107 to $200 for travellers.

Currently, 2 clinics here offer the saliva test — Gainhealth Clinic in Ang Mo Kio and telemedicine company MyDoc.

Plans are in the works to get more clinics to offer saliva testing.

Glad more testing options now available

PCR swab tests are certainly uncomfortable, albeit more accurate. It can be challenging to get young kids or the elderly to go through the process.

We’re glad Singapore firms and the authorities are constantly innovating and looking into alternate testing methods such as this.

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Featured image adapted from WebsEdgeMedicine on YouTube.