An ultra-fast saliva test for COVID-19 screening might soon be available

Current COVID-19 testing in the United States is invasive, and it can take days to receive the results, leading to uncertainty for you and people you’ve been in contact with.

Well, here is some good news. French researchers developed a simple, portable test that gives results in an hour.

It’s called EasyCov, or Easy-C-O-V. The test requires a few drops of saliva, a test tube and less than one hour of heating at 65° to produce a result, and it can be done almost anywhere.

The preliminary results so far show the test has a sensitivity of about 73 percent, meaning it’s able to detect about 73% of infected patients. For every 10 patients with COVID-19, it will miss 3 of them. But that’s roughly consistent with the tests being used now.

For patients and healthcare workers, EasyCov could be a huge step forward, as the testing procedure now can be painful for the patient and unsafe for the healthcare worker because it may trigger a sneeze.

A test that’s 4-to-5 times cheaper and can give results in less than an hour could have huge implications for the general population. Airlines and cruise ships could quickly screen each passenger before boarding – not temperature checks that might suggest you could have COVID-19, but a test that could tell them if you actually do have it. Nursing homes could test their staff and residents frequently. Doctors’ offices could test patients there instead of sending them to hospitals or health departments.

Right now, 200,000 kits are being produced each week and sold in France. EasyCov is already arousing interest in other countries and among professional athletes. This test, or one like it, could be a major step forward in limiting the spread of the coronavirus.