Japan approves safer, easier PCR virus test using saliva

02, Jun. 2020

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TOKYO, Kyodo - Japan approved Tuesday a polymerase chain reaction coronavirus test using saliva, which is much safer and easier compared to the currently dominant method that collects mucus from back part of the nose.

The new testing method targets those within nine days of displaying symptoms and is covered by public health insurance. It is expected to pose less infection risk to medical staff as examinees only provide their saliva in a container at medical facilities.

The existing method uses a cotton swab to collect mucus from the nose, which has a high possibility of causing the patients to sneeze or cough in the process.

As it leaves medical staff collecting the sample prone to potential infection, they need to wear goggles and gown. This has become a sticking point in expanding the scale of the PCR test. (Kyodo)