Testing Saliva

Woman having a saliva test done

Saliva as a Medical Assessment Medium

Saliva is a remarkable biofluid with clinical significance, and it is gaining attention as a diagnostic specimen for early disease detection. RapidDx is a pioneer in the use of saliva as an inexpensive, noninvasive, rapid means of facilitating the early diagnosis of diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and assessing conditions like concussion.

The effective use of saliva for diagnostic tests has been proven since salivary cortisol was first measured in the 1970s. It has been more than a decade since the FDA approved over-the-counter HIV tests using saliva. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this testing method gained worldwide acceptance, leading to increased oral testing for various diseases.

RapidDx saliva-based assessments

Developed to address the critical need for early-stage diagnostic tests for life-altering diseases, RapidDx is designed to be a handheld diagnostic device intended to alert clinicians when a patient carries specific biomarkers indicating the presence of targeted conditions.

RapidDX is developing a patented sample collection and assessment device and focused its attention on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and traumatic brain injury (TBI) or concussion.

RapidDx rapid assessment devices for saliva testing

Why Saliva?

Beyond the advantage of noninvasive and easy collection, saliva is recognised as a unique and complex biofluid, described as a “mirror of the body” and a “gateway” to physiological information.

Some of the advantages include:

Non-Invasive Collection

Saliva can be easily collected without the need for invasive procedures, making it more convenient than blood or urine samples.
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Saliva contains various biomarkers that can provide critical information about both oral and systemic health. These biomarkers range from proteins to non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) and can be used for disease detection.
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Point-of-Care (POC) Devices

Saliva-based tests offer an economic and effective way to detect diseases.

Transportation and Disposal

Saliva is much easier to transport than blood and can be disposed of in normal waste or a drain rather than as biohazardous waste.

Regulatory Approvals

Saliva as a biofluid with the potential for disease diagnosis has been receiving FDA attention from as early as the 1990’s.

Disease Detection

Saliva has also been approved by FDA and EU authorities for the detection of certain diseases or for other purposes, including HIV/AIDS and COVID-19.

Saliva-based diagnostics have shown promise in detecting various other diseases. Here are examples of diseases under investigation:

Oral Diseases

  • Periodontal Disease: Saliva contains biomarkers related to gum health, aiding in early detection of periodontal disease.
  • Oral Cancer: Certain proteins and genetic markers in saliva can indicate oral cancer risk.

Systemic Diseases

  • Diabetes: Levels of various salivary biomarkers correlate with blood glucose levels, making these biomarkers useful for monitoring diabetes.
  • Autoimmune Diseases: Saliva biomarkers may help diagnose conditions like Sjögren’s syndrome and systemic lupus erythematosus.
  • Cardiovascular Diseases: Some studies explore saliva markers for heart disease risk assessment.

Infectious Diseases

Hepatitis B and C: Saliva-based tests are being researched for these viral infections.

Drugs of Abuse

There are many saliva drugs of abuse tests that detect marijuana [THC] and other abused drugs. Saliva is actually a better indicator of impairment in subjects over the limit for THC.

General Wellness/ Women’s Health

Various hormones in saliva are used to provide an indication of overall wellness and for women’s health issues. Hormones in saliva are present in the “non-complexed” forms whereas in blood the hormone molecules are “complexed”. As a result salivary hormones reflect the true values.

In Summary

Saliva’s ease of collection, cost-effectiveness, and potential as a diagnostic medium make it an exciting area of research for detecting systemic diseases. While challenges remain, ongoing studies continue to explore its usefulness as an important diagnostic tool.

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