Canada Comes Up With No-Nose COVID-19 Test

'It is one of the first of its kind around the world'
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 20, 2020 4:10 PM CDT
Canada Comes Up With No-Nose COVID-19 Test
A doctor takes a nasal swab sample to test for COVID-19 at the Cocodrilos Sports Park in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, amid the new coronavirus pandemic.   (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)

Looks like Canada might just save you from the dreaded nasal swab. Officials in British Columbia say a new COVID-19 test allows school children to "swirl, gargle and spit" a saline solution instead of enduring a swab up the nose, the Guardian reports. "It is one of the first of its kind around the world," Bonnie Henry, the province's top doctor, tells CNN. Like the swab, this test gathers tissue samples that could contain the virus; saline is also said to protect virus structure by roughly simulating its natural environment.

The goal is to make saline tests widely available, but school children will benefit for now until supplies increase. Henry tells the Canadian Press that the new test is "an easier way to collect it for young people. Not only is this new method more comfortable, particularly for our younger children, it's a BC company that's going to be providing the collections tubes." Canadian health officials are researching similar saliva tests—which allow people to collect and deliver their own saliva—but hurdles remain, including the fact that it's tough to gather high-quality spit because "gobs of saliva vary in how fluid they can be," the CBC reports. (Read more COVID-19 stories.)

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