Another Salivary Bioscience Breakthrough: Research Study Obtains 100% Sensitivity and Specificity for COVID-19 Serology with Support from Salimetrics

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A new study from research teams at Johns Hopkins and Emory University, with support from Salimetrics, obtained 100% sensitivity and specificity using saliva/oral fluid for detecting prior SARS-CoV-2 infection. Results indicated that non-invasive seroprevalence studies could take place at a population-based level using saliva/oral fluid samples and can include home-based collections.

This study illustrates that saliva, and how to collect it right, can facilitate widespread scalable surveillance with uncompromised sensitivity and specificity while providing practical, non-invasive sampling.

Recently, infectious disease experts at Johns Hopkins and Emory University, in collaboration with Salivary Bioscience experts from Salimetrics and the University of California, Irvine, published a preliminary report in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology for a saliva/oral fluid-based study related to COVID-19 immunology. At a critical juncture during the era of COVID-19, this promising research provides evidence that saliva can hold the key to population-wide sampling and further determine the magnitude and duration of the antibody response induced after infection. Data generated from saliva samples would also serve as an important step in large-scale monitoring and seroprevalence studies of SARS-CoV-2 infections.

The significance of this COVID-19 serology study was featured recently in a news release from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Results from this study are the product of a long-standing collaboration between public health experts and Salimetrics who provided key technical knowledge and translational salivary bioscience expertise related to the collection, handling, and processing of saliva samples. “We actively share our 20 years of knowledge gained from investing in salivary R&D efforts," says Steve Granger, Ph.D., Salimetrics Chief Scientific Officer. "We’ve supported over 20,000 studies, and that experience has put Salimetrics at the leading edge of salivary bioscience methods. This study illustrates that saliva, and how to collect it right, can facilitate widespread, scalable surveillance with uncompromised sensitivity and specificity through practical, non-invasive sampling. A hurdle for serum sampling in surveillance studies, that can be overcome with saliva, is inherent bias due to samplings from admitted patients in hospitals or individuals willing to provide a blood sample. Saliva as an at-home collection option may enable true, unbiased sampling to determine the prevalence and incidence of disease in communities. It is a big step in the right direction, not only for saliva but for major scientific contributions that may directly help reduce the spread of infectious diseases like SARS-CoV-2.”

In the study, “COVID-19 serology at population scale: SARS-CoV-2-specific antibody responses in saliva”, researchers obtained 100% sensitivity and specificity using non-invasive oral fluid sampling for detecting prior SARS-CoV-2 infection. “This is highly encouraging and indicates that saliva will play a prominent role in COVID-19 support efforts,” says Dr. Granger. “Supported with key scientific knowledge from Salimetrics, this study provides one more step to enable future research and application.”

In practice, saliva maintains the benefits of rapidly improving participant compliance, scalability, sampling frequency, and safety for both the participants and test administrators. In early May, the FDA approved the first home-based COVID-19 saliva test through emergency use authorization, which enabled healthcare workers to screen for active infections without the use of a nasopharyngeal swab. Since the first EUA for a saliva-based test was granted, several additional saliva tests have also been approved by the FDA, enabling diagnostic testing to continue at a record pace around the country. Now, seroprevalence studies will be necessary to facilitate knowledge in supporting appropriate COVID-19 relief efforts. “With so many unknowns still related to the COVID-19 pandemic, saliva’s flexibility to handle frequent self-sampling over long periods of time can allow researchers to answer many questions related to prevalence and immunity from SARS-CoV-2,” says Supriya Gaitonde, Ph.D., Salimetrics Senior Applications Scientist.

Successful application of this research has also backed the development of Salimetrics SARS-CoV-2, (N-Protein) Salivary IgG ELISA Kit. “We’ve mobilized our extensive expertise to enable researchers and public health officials to generate knowledge of COVID-19 infection/exposure history,” says Dr. Gaitonde. Using close coordination between colleagues and experts in immune-surveillance and SARS-CoV-2 immunology, Salimetrics’ SARS-CoV-2 IgG (N-protein) ELISA Kit was designed to be practical, non-invasive, and to fill the urgent need for large-scale monitoring or seroprevalence of coronavirus infections.

About Salimetrics:
Salimetrics assay kits and CLIA-certified testing services are used to measure salivary analytes related to stress, behavior and development, inflammation, sleep, reproduction, health and immune function. Founded in 1998 by Douglas A. Granger, Ph.D., Salimetrics, LLC supports CROs, pharmaceuticals, academic researchers and the immunodiagnostic industry around the world with innovative immunoassay products, non-invasive saliva collection methods, and laboratory testing services.

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