Portable Saliva-Based COVID-19 Test is Quick, Accurate and Sensitive


Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a Scalable and Portable Testing (SPOT) system that uses at type of LAMP amplification to detect COVID-19 quickly, easily and accurately from saliva samples.

The prototype device is hand held and battery powered and many parts can be 3D printed. Even though the device is only at an early stage of development, which would normally be more expensive, it can currently be produced for less than $78 and the researchers estimate that the materials and reagents needed would cost approximately $6-7 per test.

Research team tested the ability of their prototype to detect SARS-CoV-2 in saliva. They tested 104 saliva samples where the individuals being tested had a known COVID-19 diagnosis—30 positive and 74 negative.

The test was highly accurate and correctly identified 28 out of 30 positive samples and 73 out of 74 negative samples, which corresponds to a sensitivity of 93.3% and a specificity of 98.6%. The researchers also tested samples with particles from more than one virus (other coronaviruses and influenza) and the test remained accurate.