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25 Jun 2020

Use of saliva as a diagnostic specimen for COVID-19

Media release

The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity (Doherty Institute) has been working to validate the use of saliva as a diagnostic specimen for COVID-19.

Professor Deborah Williamson, Director of the Royal Melbourne Hospital’s Department of Clinical Microbiology and Deputy Director of the University of Melbourne’s Microbiological Diagnostic Unit Public Health Laboratory at the Doherty Institute, and her team previously demonstrated the feasibility, acceptability and scalability of collecting saliva in a busy-screening clinic, with samples collected at The Royal Melbourne Hospital, and the value of saliva as a non-invasive specimen for the detection of SARS-CoV-2.

Quotes attributable to Professor Deborah Williamson:

“The Doherty Institute public health laboratories are pleased to work with the Victorian Government and other laboratories to assess the feasibility, acceptability and scalability of saliva testing in the community.”

“This novel diagnostic approach has been trialled in our laboratory and in labs around the world, and our work suggests this approach may be an alternative to swab testing in some settings.”

Please note, there will be no interviews outside of this statement.

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