Background: A previous study demonstrated the performance of the Salivette®
(SARSTEDT, Numbrecht, Germany) as a homogeneous saliva collection system to diagnose COVID-19 by RT-qPCR, notably for symptomatic and asymptomatic patients. However, for convalescent patients, the corroboration of molecular detection of SARS-CoV-2 in paired nasopharyngeal swabs (NPS) and saliva samples was unsatisfactory. Objectives: The aim of the present work was to assess the concordance level of SARS-CoV-2 detection between paired sampling of NPSs and saliva collected with Salivette®
at two time points, with ten days of interval. Results: A total of 319 paired samples from 145 outpatients (OP) and 51 healthcare workers (HW) were collected. Unfortunately, at day ten, 73 individuals were lost to follow-up, explaining some kinetic missing data. Due to significant waiting rates at hospitals, most of the patients ate and/or drank while waiting for their turn. Consequently, mouth washing was systematically proposed prior to saliva collection. None of the HW were diagnosed as SARS-CoV-2 positive using NPS or saliva specimens at both time points (n
= 95) by RT-qPCR. The virus was detected in 56.3% (n
= 126/224) of the NPS samples from OP, but solely 26.8% (n
= 60/224) of the paired saliva specimens. The detection of the internal cellular control, the human RNase P, in more than 98% of the saliva samples, underlined that the low sensitivity of saliva specimens (45.2%) for SARS-CoV-2 detection was not attributed to an improper saliva sample storing or RNA extraction. Conclusions: This work revealed that mouth washing decreased viral load of buccal cavity conducting to impairment of SARS-CoV-2 detection. Viral loads in saliva neo-produced appeared insufficient for molecular detection of SARS-CoV-2. At the time when saliva tests could be a rapid, simple and non-invasive strategy to assess large scale schoolchildren in France, the determination of the performance of saliva collection becomes imperative to standardize procedures.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited