Dubai Launches Saliva-Based COVID-19 Test for Children
Health authorities confirmed that the spit-based test for kids is just as effective in identifying the virus as a nasal swab test
22 November 2020
A Covid-19 saliva test in Dubai costs AED 150, which is the same price as a nasal swab test.
The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has announced that the spit-based COVID-19 test for children is now available in the Emirate for those aged between 3 to 16.
The saliva-based test is a less intrusive alternative for kids as it does not require a swab to be inserted into their nose and back of the throat like the current commonly used PCR test.
Instead, it involves spitting into a tube which will be sealed and tested, with results available within 24 hours.
Young people who intent to travel out of the UAE or need to get tested as a precaution can visit one of Dubai's 19 government-run centres offering the saliva test.
The DHA rolled out the new option after several months of trials with the Mohammed bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences. Researchers took both spit-based and PCR tests from over 400 children in Dubai who came in for Covid-19 testing.
Studies found that the saliva could be used for viral detection with 87.7 per cent sensitivity and 98.5 per cent specificity, which is similar to a nasal swab test, confirming its effectiveness in detecting the virus.
Dr. Farida Al Khaja, Chief Executive of DHA's clinical support services and nursing division, said: “For children, in particular, it is highly beneficial as it eliminates the discomfort associated with a nasal swab test, which means children will be at ease and find the test comfortable."
“This joint effort highlights how research-based data can help develop public health policies to provide the highest-standards of medical care to the population," she added.
UAE health officials reported 1,205 new Covid-19 cases, 791 further recoveries, and four deaths.
The total number of confirmed cases in the UAE is now at 158,990, out of which 148,871 recovered. There are currently over 9,000 active cases.
The country's Coronavirus death toll is now at 552.