Saliva-Based COVID-19 Self-Test Kit To Be Introduced Soon – Health DG

PUTRAJAYA: The public will soon be able to do a COVID-19 self test with a kit using the deep throat saliva sampling method, said Health director-general Tan Sri Noor Hisham Abdullah.

He said the Ministry of Health (MOH) is in the midst of identifying two companies that would be supplying the test kits and the apparatus is being registered with the Medical Device Authority (MDA).

“The Institute for Medical Research (IMR) had conducted tests on the kits that have been developed by two different companies,” he told a press conference on COVID-19 development here today.

Earlier, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba informed that the deep throat sampling method has been introduced for COVID-19 tests in several government hospitals.

Based on the IMR evaluation, deep throat saliva had a sensitivity of 96.67% and 100% specificity.

The sampling method was seen to be safe and non-invasive compared to sampling with the “nasopharyngeal” and the ‘oropharyngeal’ swab through the nose and mouth, 

Elaborating, Dr Noor Hisham said if the test kit result showed that an individual is positive for COVID-19, the person would still be required to go for further examination at a MOH facility.

“They will need to go for another test. We will also train health workers to ensure that the procedure for saliva sampling is conducted more accurately,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham said dialysis centres should not make it mandatory for kidney patients to be vaccinated in order for them to seek dialysis treatment.

“However, we (government) will one day recommend that people with comorbid conditions must get the COVID-19 vaccine,” he said.