Saliva Tests Not as Accurate as Widely Reported – COVID-19

The saliva Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) for COVID-19 has been widely reported to be as accurate as the nasal swab PCR test. However, recent studies have suggested that the saliva RAT is not as accurate as initially thought.

One study found that the saliva RAT had a sensitivity of just 50-60%, which means that it would miss around half of all cases. Another study found that the saliva RAT had a specificity of just 85%, which means that it would produce false positives in around 15% of cases.

So, while the saliva RAT may be better than nothing, it is not as accurate as the PCR test and should not be used as a replacement for it.

1. What is a saliva test?

A saliva rapid antigen test is a swab test that is used to detect the presence of a viral infection in the saliva. This type of test is used to diagnose infections such as the flu, strep throat, and COVID-19. The test is quick and easy to administer, and it can provide results within minutes.

A saliva rapid antigen test is a valuable tool for diagnosing viral infections, and it can be used to help contain the spread of diseases.

2. How accurate are saliva tests?

There are two main types of rapid antigen tests: the nasal swab test and the saliva test. Both of these tests are accurate, with the nasal swab test being up to 50% more accurate than the saliva test.

The accuracy of rapid antigen tests can vary depending on several factors, such as the type of test, the manufacturer of the test, and how the test is used. However, in general, rapid antigen tests are quite accurate and are a valuable tool in the fight against COVID-19.

3. What do the experts say?

In recent months, saliva tests have become increasingly popular as a way to test for Covid-19. While these tests are less invasive than traditional swab tests, they are not as accurate, according to experts.

A recent study found that saliva tests had a false positive rate of nearly 20%. This means that 1 in 5 people who test positive for Covid-19 on a saliva test do not actually have the virus. The false positive rate for swab tests, by contrast, is less than 1%.

So why are saliva tests being used if they are not as accurate? The main reason is that they are less invasive and can be done without the assistance of a medical professional. This makes them ideal for mass testing, as they can be administered quickly and easily.

4. Is the best option a saliva or nasal rapid test?

The best option may vary depending on the individual’s situation. Saliva tests may be less invasive, but nasal tests may provide more accurate results.


While COVID-19 saliva tests are not as accurate as many sources have suggested, they are still a valuable tool in the fight against the pandemic. Nasal rapid tests are even more accurate, and they are now available for both COVID-19 and Influenza. This is good news for patients and healthcare workers alike, as it will help to reduce the spread of both diseases.

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