7 Sep 2021

Saliva testing ramping up, but has NZ been too slow?

From Nine To Noon, 9:05 am on 7 September 2021
Anne Wyllie

Anne Wylie Photo: supplied

The government is moving to increase the use of saliva testing as it implements mandatory weekly surveillance testing of three thousand essential workers crossing through Auckland's border. 

But we been too slow to adopt the technology?

Saliva based tests are in used widely in many parts of the world, and have a number of advantages over current nasal swabs- they're less invasive, quicker and cheaper.

But it has only been in the last month that border and MIQ workers have been given the choice of a saliva test rather than a nasal swab.

According to the Ministry of Health website, 815 border workers have opted for regular saliva testing, and the trial will be reviewed mid this month.

New Zealander, Dr Anne Wyllie, is a Research Scientist in Epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health, whose team pioneered the SalivaDirect test, which was given the green light in the US last year.