This thesis project is the result of close collaboration with the Arizona State University Biodesign Clinical Testing Laboratory (ABCTL) to document the characteristics of saliva as a test sample, preanalytical considerations, and how the ABCTL utilized saliva testing to develop swift COVID-19 diagnostic tests for the Arizona community. As of April 2021, there have been over 130 million recorded cases of COVID-19 globally, with the United States taking the lead with approximately 31.5 million cases. Developing highly accurate and timely diagnostics has been an important need of our country that the ABCTL has had tremendous success in delivering. Near the start of the pandemic, the ABCTL utilized saliva as a testing sample rather than nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs that were limited in supply, required highly trained medical personnel, and were generally uncomfortable for participants. Results from literature across the globe showed how saliva performed just as well as the NP swabs (the golden standard) while being an easier test to collect and analyze. Going forward, the ABCTL will continue to develop high quality diagnostic tools and adapt to the ever-evolving needs our communities face regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Making of a COVID Testing Laboratory: Deconstructing the Saliva Sample Collection Process and Preanalytical Standardization