CSU saliva screening

Estimated reading time: 1 min

Colorado State University is rolling out a new test that screens saliva for the virus that cause COVID-19, with the first samples submitted on Oct. 1.

This new saliva screening test was developed by CSU researchers and provides the university with the ability to screen tenfold the number of students, faculty and staff. The new strategy will also minimize the number of people needing a mid-nasal swab test; those tests will be required only for diagnosis if the saliva test results suggest that the virus is present.

The week of Oct. 3, everyone who is tested with a nasal swab test will be asked to submit a saliva sample at the same time as a final comparison of results in a real-world setting.

It is anticipated that the week of Oct 10, the CSU will switch to primarily using saliva screening tests,  and nasal swab tests will be reserved for individuals whose saliva screening indicates that the virus that causes COVID-19 could be  present.

Until now, the university has limited testing to specific groups, including those mandated to test based on wastewater sampling. To date, the team has conducted more than 20,000 tests; however, members of our Ram community have asked expanded testing opportunities. The saliva test offers the possibility that the university could scale up testing numbers, potentially providing the opportunity for any student, faculty or staff member who wants to get a test to do so. Watch for more information here as the university pilots this program aimed at increasing capacity to meet these needs.

Saliva tests costs will be covered by the university, as have all nasal swab tests since Aug. 17.