SINGAPORE - Instead of nasal swabs, those who need to be tested for Covid-19 in Singapore may soon have the option of offering their saliva sample, following the development of a test kit here.
The Resolute 2.0 kit was developed by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research's (A*Star) Diagnostics Development (DxD) Hub and DSO National Laboratories in July.
While it allows for tests using nasal swabs, the kits also facilitates Covid-19 testing using saliva.
Patients have to draw saliva from deep within their throats which they then spit into a specimen bottle.
Unlike nasal and throat swabs, this type of saliva testing does not require assistance from swabbers or medical professionals, which protects them from being potentially exposed to the virus.
The Resolute 2.0 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test kit can handle this non-invasive method of obtaining samples, compared to the more commonly used nasopharyngeal (back of the nose) or oropharyngeal (back of the throat) swabbing.
The PCR test has been described as the "gold standard" of Covid-19 detection during the pandemic.
The kit is licensed to be manufactured and distributed by medical device company Advanced MedTech Holdings.
The company on Thursday (Dec 10) announced that the Health Sciences Authority has given its approval for the first Covid-19 deep throat saliva test here.
Changi Airport's new Covid-19 testing lab - slated to open in the first quarter of next year - will use Resolute 2.0.
When contacted, Changi Airport Group said no decision has been made on whether saliva testing will be available to passengers at the airport.
In its statement, Advanced MedTech Holdings said clinical studies conducted on saliva samples were able to accurately identify all the known positive cases.
The company's group chief executive Abel Ang added: "No patient wants to have a swab poked up their nose or the back of their throat."
He said that the Resolute 2.0 kit will be beneficial for the country as it steps up testing to reopen the economy, revive conventions, and rebuild the air hub status of Changi Airport.
A saliva sample taken from deep within the throat is not the same as drool around the mouth, explained DxD Hub's vice-president Dr Weng Ruifen.
The Resolute 2.0 kit does not require sample processing and can be completed in an hour, compared with a conventional PCR test, which takes 2½ hours or longer to produce results.
The Resolute 2.0 kit is currently being used in places including ParkwayHealth Laboratory, Innovative Diagnostics labs and Raffles Medical Group.
Advanced MedTech Holdings said it is working with the Ministry of Health to offer saliva testing in Singapore.
Correction note: This story has been edited for clarity.