Saliva is a reliable tool to detect SARS-CoV-2

J Infect. 2020 Jul;81(1):e45-e50. doi: 10.1016/j.jinf.2020.04.005. Epub 2020 Apr 14.


Objectives: This study analyzed salivary samples of COVID-19 patients and compared the results with their clinical and laboratory data.

Methods: Salivary samples of 25 COVID-19 patients were analyzed by rRT-PCR. The following data were collected: age, sex, comorbidities, drugs. Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and ultrasensitive reactive C protein (usRCP) values were registered on the same day when a salivary swab was collected. Prevalence of positivity in saliva and association between clinical data and the cycle threshold as a semiquantitative indicator of viral load were considered.

Results: Twenty-five subjects were recruited into this study, 17 males and 8 females. The mean age was 61.5 +/- 11.2 years. Cardiovascular and/or dysmetabolic disorders were observed in 65.22% of cases. All the samples tested positive for the presence of SARS-CoV-2, while there was an inverse association between LDH and Ct values. Two patients showed positive salivary results on the same days when their pharyngeal or respiratory swabs showed conversion.

Conclusions: Saliva is a reliable tool to detect SARS-CoV-2. The role of saliva in COVID-19 diagnosis could not be limited to a qualitative detection of the virus, but it may also provide information about the clinical evolution of the disease.

Keywords: COVID-19; Coronavirus; SARS-CoV-2; Saliva; nCoV-2019.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Betacoronavirus / genetics
  • Betacoronavirus / isolation & purification*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / diagnosis*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Saliva / virology*