COVID-19 saliva test developed in New Zealand to be used at country’s largest aged care home

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New Zealand aged care provider Ryman Healthcare has partnered with Hill Laboratories to voluntarily use a new saliva COVID-19 test on its aged care and retirement village staff.

The SalivaDirect test was developed at Yale University in the US and was based on ground-breaking research headed by Auckland based Dr Anne Wyllie and her team.

The new test only requires a saliva sample after research revealed samples from inside the mouth resulted in more consistent results throughout the entire course of an infection.

Ryman’s decision to trial the new testing method is a smart PR move by the provider and it should create peace of mind for residents and their families if it leads to more frequent staff testing.

Some of the test’s benefits as outlined by the American Society for Microbiology included ease of collection, fewer testing steps, and easier access to the required instruments.

Ryman Healthcare Chief Operations Officer Cheyne Chalmers said the Hill tests were an exciting new development in the campaign to keep Ryman’s villages free of COVID-19.

The ease of completing saliva samples would also result in speedier testing, however people will still have to await results from a laboratory.