Seegene has reported that the company’s less-invasive Covid-19 saliva test is as accurate as the nasopharyngeal specimen (NPS) test, according to a new study.

The PCR test was conducted by a research team at the Department of Laboratory Medicine at Kangwon National University School of Medicine in South Korea.

The scientists used Seegene’s CE-IVD marked Covid-19 tests, Allplex SARS-CoV-2 Assay and Allplex SARS-CoV-2/FluA/FluB/RSV Assay, for the study.

Allplex SARS-CoV-2 Assay can detect four different Covid-19 viral genes while Allplex SARS-CoV-2/FluA/FluB/RSV Assay is designed for identifying and distinguishing eight target genes, including Covid-19, influenza, and RSV common cold.

The team conducted the PCR test for Covid-19 on 90 hospitalised people with suspected disease, using saliva and nasopharyngeal samples.

To obtain an adequate specimen, samples were collected from study subjects who were asked to refrain from eating, drinking, and smoking for 30 minutes after waking up in the morning.

According to the results, both assays of Seegene showed the saliva and nasopharyngeal test’s percentage agreement of more than 98.8% in detecting Covid-19.

It demonstrates that Seegene’s Covid-19 diagnostic test provides equally accurate and effective test results using saliva and a nasopharyngeal specimen.

Kangwon National University School of Medicine Department of Laboratory Medicine professor In-bum Suh said: “The demand for saliva-based Covid-19 tests is on the rise as the world still battles with the short supply of specimen collecting swab for nasopharyngeal tests.”

He added that the study has ‘clearly proven that saliva tests are just as accurate and effective as nasopharyngeal tests in precisely diagnosing Covid-19’.

Separately, the team also carried out a study on the extraction-free application, one without the nucleic acid extraction step. They found that the percentage agreement between Seegene’s extraction-free saliva test and extraction-free nasopharyngeal swab test was more than 96%.

It indicates that extraction-free method using saliva sampling could be just as applicable for the Covid-19 PCR test.