METHODS: This was a prospective single center study which recruited 217 asymptomatic adult male participants in a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) quarantine center who had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 8-10 days prior to isolation. Paired NPS and saliva specimens were collected and processed within 5 hours of sample collection. Real time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) targeting Envelope (E) and RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) genes was performed and the results were compared.
RESULTS: Overall, 160 of the 217 (74%) participants tested positive for COVID-19 based on saliva, NPS, or both testing methods. The detection rate for SARS-CoV-2 was higher in saliva compared to NPS testing (93.1%, 149/160 vs 52.5%, 84/160, P < .001). The concordance between the 2 tests was 45.6% (virus was detected in both saliva and NPS in 73/160), whereas 47.5% were discordant (87/160 tested positive for 1 whereas negative for the other). The cycle threshold (Ct) values for E and RdRp genes were significantly lower in saliva specimens compared to NP swab specimens.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings demonstrate that saliva is a better alternative specimen for detection of SARS-CoV-2. Taking into consideration, the simplicity of specimen collection, shortage of PPE and the transmissibility of the virus, saliva could enable self-collection for an accurate SARS-CoV-2 surveillance testing.
METHODS: We recruited 81 travelers and 15 non-travelers (including ten controls) prospectively within a mean of 3·22 days of RT-PCR confirmed COVID-19. Each study participant provided 2 mls of early morning fresh drooled whole saliva separately into a sterile plastic container and GeneFiX™ saliva collection kit. The saliva specimens were processed within 4 h and tested for SARS-CoV-2 genes (E, RdRP, and N2) and the results compared to paired NPS RT-PCR for diagnostic accuracy.
RESULTS: Majority of travellers were asymptomatic (75·0%) with a mean age of 34·26 years. 77 travelers were RT-PCR positive at the time of hospitalization whilst three travelers had positive contacts. In this group, the detection rate for SARS-CoV-2 with NPS, whole saliva, and GeneFiX™ were comparable (89·3%, 50/56; 87·8%, 43/49; 89·6%, 43/48). Both saliva collection methods were in good agreement (Kappa = 0·69). There was no statistical difference between the detection rates of saliva and NPS (p > 0·05). Detection was highest for the N2 gene whilst the E gene provided the highest viral load (mean = 27·96 to 30·10, SD = 3·14 to 3·85). Saliva specimens have high sensitivity (80·4%) and specificity (90·0%) with a high positive predictive value of 91·8% for SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis.
CONCLUSION: Saliva for SARS-CoV-2 screening is a simple accurate technique comparable with NPS RT-PCR.
METHODS: A total of 322 samples of mainly human origin were analysed using eight protocols, applying a wide variety of laboratory components. Several samples (60% of human specimens) were processed using different protocols. In total, 712 sequencing libraries were investigated for viral sequence contamination.
RESULTS: Among sequences showing similarity to viruses, 493 were significantly associated with the use of laboratory components. Each of these viral sequences had sporadic appearance, only being identified in a subset of the samples treated with the linked laboratory component, and some were not identified in the non-template control samples. Remarkably, more than 65% of all viral sequences identified were within viral clusters linked to the use of laboratory components.
CONCLUSIONS: We show that high prevalence of contaminating viral sequences can be expected in HTS-based virome data and provide an extensive list of novel contaminating viral sequences that can be used for evaluation of viral findings in future virome and metagenome studies. Moreover, we show that detection can be problematic due to stochastic appearance and limited non-template controls. Although the exact origin of these viral sequences requires further research, our results support laboratory-component-linked viral sequence contamination of both biological and synthetic origin.