NEW YORK - When the pandemic began nearly two years ago, getting tested for the coronavirus required an uncomfortable nasal swab. Not anymore. Now, saliva tests suffice without sacrificing accuracy.
At the beginning of this year, as schools and businesses itched to return to normal, the Mount Sinai Health System went to work devising an inexpensive, non-invasive, accurate way to test people on a large scale. Saliva seemed like a good answer but doctors had to test it to make sure it would work.
So between March and May, the hospital ran about 13,000 saliva tests at various KIPP charter schools in the city. There were no false positives and no known false negatives, according to Mount Sinai.
Since going live in mid-July, Mount Sinai’s lab on First Avenue has processed more than 42,000 saliva samples from the MTA, Metropolitan Opera, and the United States Tennis Association.
FOX 5 News got an exclusive tour of the lab and watched the process from intake to testing. Results come in less than 24 hours.
Doctors say saliva could be a game-changer not just for detecting COVID-19 but other potentially dangerous respiratory viruses.