Two LSU Doctors Working on Less Invasive COVID Test
If you've had the "pleasure" of getting swabbed for the coronavirus, you know how uncomfortable it can be. That's mostly because it goes so deep.
The nasopharyngeal swab, known as an NP swab, has been used as the standard coronavirus test or to detect any other respiratory infection.
However, there may be a less invasive and more comfortable test coming soon. Two Baton Rouge researchers have developed a saliva test to track coronavirus infections.
Dr. Rebecca Christofferson and Dr. Stephanie Cormier have teamed up with Louisiana Health Department and our Lady of the Lake Hospital to run a pilot program on teachers and students from K-12 at a Baton Rouge school.
"We’re not bringing this to market. This is mostly just for response to the public health emergency. These are not things we invented. They are things that we already patented that we’re just putting together," said Dr. Christofferson, an Assistant Professor at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine.
The two doctors say it is as accurate as the NP swab tests. The saliva samples still have to go to a lab where technicians test them for the coronavirus. They are doing those tests right now at LSU's Pennington Biomedical Research Center.
"I wouldn’t expect that the saliva tests are going to suddenly overturn NP swabs for diagnostic clinical setting, but I think in a public health surveillance and repeated testing setting, this definitely has potential," said Dr. Christofferson.
Dr. Christofferson said that this saliva test could be something that's considered for the LSU community once school reopens there. And then there's a chance that businesses will want to take the idea and mass produce it for the public.
This new saliva coronavirus test, of course, is not available to the public or any other schools right now though.