Interviewer: Hello Professor Brooks,
thank you for
taking the time today to discuss this new
FDA-approved saliva test for SARS-CoV-2.
Could you firstly give an overview of the
technology used in this diagnostic test?
Prof. Brooks: Sure,
our emergency use authorization for
COVID-19 testing is based around
using saliva as the primary material,
which is primarily different than
either the nasopharyngeal or
pharyngeal swabs that
are being used currently.
The reason for developing a test around
using saliva is not only to increase
the robustness of the collection, to
improve ease of use and make less pain and
less discomfort for the patient, but
also to get around the problem of putting
a medical professional in harm's way or
increasing their risk of infection
by being six inches away from the face
of somebody that is symptomatic.
It also reduces the amount of personal
protective equipment that's required
by about 90%, and
enables collection anywhere anytime,
which is going to be essential for
Downstream of using the saliva,
the test is very similar to the same
laboratory type of test that's used for
other biomaterials where we extract
viral RNA, we then do quantitative PCR
to determine whether or
not there are viral transcripts present.
If there are, that would determine
that the patient is infected and
is still shedding virus and should
take extra precautions in isolation so
as not to infect anybody else.
Interviewer: What were some of the main
steps taken to develop this test?
Prof. Brooks: Some of the main
steps taken to develop this test