UC Berkeley Scientists Using Saliva to Test for Coronavirus

The test is still in its experimental phase, but is getting attention as a less-invasive way to test for COVID-19

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Forget the uncomfortable long nasal swab commonly used to test people for COVID-19.

Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley have come up with a less invasive way by using a saliva sample.

"People are very excited not to get the nasal swab," said Alexandra Tsitsiklis, a UC Berkeley volunteer. "I'm also one of those people very excited, so it's great to just be able to spit into a tube."

After people provide enough saliva, they close a sample kit, which is then examined by scientists.

UC Berkeley said it is a win-win for everybody because the saliva samples do not require trained medical workers -- less time, less money and less personal protective equipment.

Those tested usually get results by the next day.

The saliva test is still in the experimental stages, which means it's not available to the public.

UC Berkeley is only testing 1,000 people currently allowed on campus, which includes graduate students, faculty and campus staff. If someone does test positive, the university said they will ask that person to get a nasal swag test to confirm the result.

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