The university has developed a detection method in which a saliva sample is examined in a closed capsule. According to university researchers, this can make a significant contribution to overcoming one of the main obstacles to expanding testing capacity, which is the lack of people taking samples. The presence of the covid-19 virus is now mostly investigated by nasopharyngeal swabs, which requires personnel in protective clothing. In addition, many people find this way of testing uncomfortable.
Therefore, from September to December, approximately 30,000 students and university staff will carry closed samples of their saliva to the university laboratory every week. “The evening will have results,” Fabrice Bureau, the deputy head of university research, told Reuters. People usually wait a few days to evaluate the current tests.
According to Bureau, the disadvantage is the lower reliability of the new procedure. While examining nasal samples, the infection can be detected in 80 percent of cases, saliva success rate is 60%. However, repeating the tests, which is easier than with the current procedure, may partially offset this shortcoming, the Bureau added.
According to Reuters, Britain is now testing the method of saliva sampling, which is also trying to find a way to test as much of the population as possible.
If approved by the Belgian authorities on the national use of saliva tests following a trial in Liège, they could significantly expand testing capacity in next year’s Belgium of 11 million, where more than 75,000 people have been infected with coronavirus and nearly 10,000 have died since the epidemic began. Belgium is planning to start testing up to 90,000 people a day from the autumn in connection with the current increase in the number of covid-19 cases.