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    The use of saliva for the diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 has shown to be a good alternative to nasopharyngeal swabs (NPS), since it permits self-collection, avoids the exposure of healthy persons to infected patients, reduces waiting times, eliminates the need of personal protective equipment and is non-invasive. Yet current saliva testing is still expensive due to the need of specialized tubes containing buffers to stabilize the RNA of SARS-CoV-2 and inactivate the virus. These tubes are expensive and not always accessible in sufficient quantities. We now developed an alternative saliva testing method, using TRIzol for extraction, viral inactivation, and storage of SARS-CoV-2 RNA, combined with RT-qPCR, which was comparable in its performance to NPS. Paired saliva samples and NPS were taken from 15 asymptomatic healthcare workers and one patient with SARS-CoV-2. Further 13 patients with SARS-CoV-2 were only saliva-tested. All the tests were performed according to CDC 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel. Saliva (4 mL) was taken in sterile 50 mL tubes, 1.5 mL TRIzol were added and mixed. Our results show that 5 μL of saliva RNA extracted with TRIzol allow for an adequate detection of the virus in patients positive for SARS-CoV-2 and was equally sensitive to NPS in TRIzol. We conclude that saliva testing using TRIzol is a recommendable method for diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 since it has several advantages over currently used saliva tests: it can be done with normal sterile tubes, does not need cold-chain handling, is stable at room temperature, is non-invasive and less costly, making it more accessible for low-income countries. Cheaper saliva testing using TRIzol is especially relevant for low-income countries to optimize diagnosis and help define quarantine durations for families, healthcare workers, schools, and other public workplaces, thus decreasing infections and mortality caused by SARS-CoV-2.


    Haydee Miranda-Ortiz, Edith A Fernández-Figueroa, Erika B Ruíz-García, Anallely Muñoz-Rivas, Alejandra Méndez-Pérez, Jorge Méndez-Galván, Horacio Astudillo-de la Vega, Belem Gabiño-López, Ricardo Nava-Monroy, Alejandro López-Flores A la Torre, Tanit López-Vergara Anaya, Diana Vilar-Compte, Uriel Coquis-Navarrete, Melissa Valdés-Reyes, Sokani Sánchez-Montes, Ingeborg Becker. Development of an alternative saliva test for diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 using TRIzol: Adapting to countries with lower incomes looking for a large-scale detection program. PloS one. 2021;16(8):e0255807

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    PMID: 34407100

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