COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTW) — For months, COVID-19 tests have been done through nasal swabs but now researchers at MUSC Health say they’ve developed saliva tests as an easier way to finding out if someone has contracted the virus.
“Well there were really several reasons why we started doing the saliva testing, first of all, and really the most important reason, it’s easier on the person getting the test, its a lot easier to spit in a tube then a swab to go up your nose,” said Dr. Carroll, the laboratory director responsible for overseeing COVID-19 tests for MUSC.
Dr. Carroll said the saliva testing will also be easier for testing sites and testers.
“It’ll also allow us to get more tests done because with a swab you have to have an experienced medical person actually doing the collection, here the patient is going to be spitting in a tube”
Dr. Carroll said other health organizations in the state are also developing saliva COVID-19 tests but says MUSC’s is the first to be available to the general public starting this week.
“We’re basically opening it up at all of our sites and in addition to it being in the Charleston area, it’s going to be ruled out to all of our regional hospitals, Florence, Marion, Chester, Lancaster, and my understanding is too we’ll make it available at all of our other tent sites too so anyplace people have been getting tested at MUSC, they should be able to get this done as well,” said Dr. Carroll.
Dr. Carroll said these tests will have faster test results, with results coming back in less than 48 hours.
“One of the biggest reasons though is even though we’re doing a lot of testing, MUSC has done 30 percent of the COVID-19 testing in the state of South Carolina, it’s still not enough, we need more testing because this is a major public heath problem and we need to know exactly what we’re dealing with,” said Dr. Carroll.
“Our hope is this will allow us to do even more tests and encourage people who we’re concerned about getting the swab done that they can actually get this done comfortably and get their results back,” Dr. Caroll said.
Visit MUSC’s website to view the list of MUSC Health’s drive-thru sites.