September 21: COVID-19 update: Saliva testing now available

Michael Lauzardo, Director, UF Health Screen, Test & Protect

Dear Campus Community,

Since the beginning of the pandemic, it has been clear that widespread testing for COVID-19 is crucial to helping control the spread of the infection. The infamous nasal swab has been the best way to date to obtain an accurate specimen for running the PCR tests that are the gold standard of infection with COVID-19 but also, for some, somewhat unpleasant. There is still a place for the nasal swab, and it also can serve a dual purpose, by helping us assess whether someone has the flu as flu season unfolds.

There is now another way to get high-quality specimens and enable us to detect the virus and confirm the presence of active infection.

Along with a handful of other institutions around the country, we have validated the saliva collection procedure, first developed and reported by researchers at Yale University. This method runs the same gold standard PCR tests on the specimens collected; the only difference is the method of collection. Soon, most UF faculty, staff or students undergoing testing will be given the option to choose the saliva test or the nasal swab. For many people, the saliva collection option will make things a lot easier and a game changer that will remove one more barrier to getting tested for COVID-19.

For more information, please see our news release below that talks more about this exciting step in our ability to accurately and quickly identify COVID-19 cases in our campus community.

UF Health Screen, Test & Protect on Saturday began offering saliva coronavirus testing for UF students, faculty and staff, a method of detecting the virus that is expected to largely replace nasal swabs that are inserted deep into noses. As always, please visit the Screen, Test & Protect website for more information and don’t hesitate to reach out to us if we can be of any help at all.