Acupath Laboratories, Inc., a leading provider of sub-specialized anatomic and molecular pathology services, today announced the availability of COVID-19 saliva PCR testing. Expanding COVID-19 testing options to include saliva provides organizations with an easier and faster alternative to the nasal swab PCR, which is often perceived as uncomfortable and invasive, particularly when conducted on a regular basis.

Testing costs and turnaround time are common concerns among employers and administrators in both K-12 and higher education who must frequently test their populations. These decision makers also need testing options that make execution easy and keep testing fatigue from setting in.

“A saliva-based assay accomplishes all of those goals without compromising test accuracy or adding cost,” said Jeff Boschwitz, Ph.D., general manager, COVID-19 testing, Acupath Laboratories. “Saliva greatly reduces the burden on employers looking to frequently test their personnel. Our team is excited to combine this mode of testing with Acupath’s low-cost, 24-hour in-lab turnaround time guarantee* and help eliminate any remaining barriers to large group testing.”

With saliva testing, the collection process is faster meaning there is less disruption to the work day while samples are gathered and the cost to collect is lower than with nasal swabs. To provide their sample, a person drips a small amount of saliva into a small tube while being observed by trained personnel.

A recent meta-analysis published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) strongly supports the use of saliva for COVID-19 testing. That analysis synthesized the results from 16 studies comparing saliva and nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs and showed that sensitivity of saliva and NP swabs were basically identical and that prior individual studies that showed otherwise only did so because they made the flawed assumption that NP swabs are 100 percent accurate.

Acupath’s saliva assay was developed in conjunction with Lighthouse Lab Services. It is based on widely used real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) technology, which employs oligonucleotide primers and probes labeled with fluorescent reporter dyes and quenchers. The assay detects a conserved region of SARS-CoV-2 N gene as well as sequences to target the human RNase P for detection of human nucleic acids.

“We’re happy to partner with an established and credentialed lab such as Acupath for our CovidNow Assay Kit,” said Jon Harol, president of Lighthouse Lab Services. “Testing for COVID-19 remains critically important for schools and places of business and as such, it’s vital that labs continue bringing more options to the table for their customers. There is a need for simpler solutions and speed in the marketplace that Lighthouse and Acupath are meeting with this assay.”

Acupath’s traditional business is in cancer diagnostics. The company launched its FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)-authorized COVID-19 real-time PCR assay in May 2020 to support its clients who required COVID-19 test results for their employees as well as to screen patients in advance of elective surgery.

Last month Acupath announced it will meet COVID-19 PCR in-lab turnaround time (TAT) of 24-hours or less for all electronically ordering direct bill customers without a rush charge, or the test fee will be waived. This includes employers, schools/universities, the sports/entertainment industries, and others where testing is required.

Working with a reputable and accredited third-party to expertly administer high-quality COVID-19 tests, from sample collection to reporting results, not only helps provide peace of mind but it is mission critical to getting people back into the workplace, schools, and social gatherings.

Source: Company Press Release