New saliva-based COVID-19 test promises results in ten minutes

A saliva-based lateral flow COVID-19 test which promises results in ten minutes has launched in the UK.

The Rapid Saliva Protein Test (RSPT) from Medusa 19 provides results on the spot in 10 minutes. It is a lateral flow saliva test to indicate the immune response to infection particularly in patients who do not know they have an active SARS-CoV-2 infection and have no specific symptoms.

The 10-minute result window for a saliva immune response is a significant breakthrough for the COVID-19 testing market.

The non-invasive test requires simple saliva collection, and is less intrusive than a blood sample, nasal or throat swab.

Developed in the UK and Spain, the test indicates a user’s immune response to SARS-CoV-2, the virus underlying COVID-19.

Users provide a saliva sample into a collection tube, mixing this with a solution, which isolates and solubilises the protein structure present in saliva. This mixture is applied to a lateral flow device which migrates the saliva sample along the device. The test identifies antibodies unique to COVID-19, capturing them on test and control lines.

The RSPT isolates the protein complexes in saliva, allowing for recognition of saliva antibodies produced after the first contact with the virus, immunoglobulin M (IgM) and immunoglobulin G (IgG). Antibodies are produced when a virus is present as part of the body’s immune system response to infection.

At the early stage of infection, human cells produce an immune response and generate IgG, but more specifically IgM at the point of contact with the virus, which for COVID-19 is in the throat and respiratory tract.

The antibodies are then transported from the lymph nodes into blood and saliva. In the early stage, detection in blood is not sensitive enough due to a high dilution effect, whereas in saliva, the independent clinical data indicates it is detectable.

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