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ACMT COVID-19 Web Series FAQs

Testing

Testing! Who should be tested? When should people be tested? Why aren’t there enough “tests?” What kind of “test” is needed? What is a “good test?” The answers to these questions (and others related to testing that targets SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19) are not straight forward, and will change as research continues. The April 29, 2020 and July 22, 2020 ACMT Webinars featured great presentations on some of the science behind generating and validating a “test”, as well as practical issues in adapting techniques to very widespread use by individuals with varied training and experience. The FAQs below should help answer some simple questions and highlight some principles to assist with the more difficult ones.

Dr. Anne Wyllie, PhD, Associate Research Scientist at Yale School of Public Health, spoke on September 30, 2020 about a project, “Implementing Medical and Public Health Action Against Coronavirus (IMPACT Yale)”, that led to a protocol for testing of saliva for SARS-CoV-2. SalivaDirect™ received FDA Emergency Use Authorization in September 2020. Their goal in developing the protocol was to expand the testing arsenal for COVID-19, while avoiding some of the bottlenecks and problems experienced throughout the epidemic including inadequate supply of materials, expertise, health risk associated with specimen collection, and turnaround time. Their study suggested, and has been borne out by further review, that saliva testing for SARS-CoV-2 is able to provide a more convenient and less resource-intensive means for testing, with comparable test accuracy. Unless specifically mentioned, these FAQs refer to nucleic acid amplification testing (NAAT) assays in saliva and nasopharyngeal swab testing that rely on RT-PCR; as opposed to antigen or antibody testing technologies, which may also utilize saliva or nasopharyngeal specimens.

FAQs - Testing

Last updated: March 30, 2021