Objectives: Automated point-of-care molecular assays have greatly shortened the turnaround time of respiratory virus testing. One of the major bottlenecks now lies at the specimen collection step, especially in a busy clinical setting. Saliva is a convenient specimen type that can be provided easily by adult patients. This study assessed the diagnostic validity, specimen collection time and cost associated with the use of saliva.
Methods: This was a prospective diagnostic validity study comparing the detection rate of respiratory viruses between saliva and nasopharyngeal aspirate (NPA) among adult hospitalized patients using Xpert® Xpress Flu/RSV. The cost and time associated with the collection of saliva and nasopharyngeal specimens were also estimated.
Results: Between July and October 2017, 214 patients were recruited. The overall agreement between saliva and NPA was 93.3% (196/210, κ 0.851, 95% CI 0.776-0.926). There was no significant difference in the detection rate of respiratory viruses between saliva and NPA (32.9% (69/210) versus 35.7% (75/210); p 0.146). The overall sensitivity and specificity were 90.8% (81.9%-96.2%) and 100% (97.3%-100%), respectively, for saliva, and were 96.1% (88.9%-99.2%) and 98.5% (94.7%-99.8%), respectively, for NPA. The time and cost associated with the collection of saliva were 2.26-fold and 2.59-fold lower, respectively, than those of NPA.
Conclusions: Saliva specimens have high sensitivity and specificity in the detection of respiratory viruses by an automated multiplex Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments-waived point-of-care molecular assay when compared with those of NPA. The use of saliva also reduces the time and cost associated with specimen collection.
Keywords: Automated; Cost; Influenza virus; Nasopharyngeal; Point-of-care testing; Respiratory syncytial virus; Saliva.
Copyright © 2018 European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.