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Researchers develop saliva-based SARS-CoV-2 test and examine COVID-19 prevalence among dentists Dr. Walter Siqueira from the University of Saskatchewan College of Dentistry is the lead researcher in a study aimed at developing a test that identifies SARS-CoV-2 peptides in saliva. (Image: University of Saskatchewan)
Dr. Walter Siqueira from the University of Saskatchewan College of Dentistry is the lead researcher in a study aimed at developing a test that identifies SARS-CoV-2 peptides in saliva. (Image: University of Saskatchewan)

Researchers develop saliva-based SARS-CoV-2 test and examine COVID-19 prevalence among dentists

SASKATOON, Saskatchewan, Canada: Researchers from the University of Saskatchewan (USask) in Saskatoon are currently working on two large projects that have recently received substantial federal funding. The first project is aimed at developing a novel saliva-based test for SARS-CoV-2 detection, whereas the second one aims to examine COVID-19 incidence rates among Canadian dentists.

The two projects, led by the University of Regina (U of R) in Saskatchewan and McGill University in Montreal, respectively, have secured $1.2 million (€1.1 million) in funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Approximately half of the funding, over $550,000 (€445,000), will go to the researchers at the USask College of Dentistry and the USask Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization—International Vaccine Centre.

The first part of the project will be led by Dr. Walter Siqueira, an associate dean at the USask College of Dentistry, in collaboration with Prof. Jun Yang of Western University in London, Ontario, and will focus on developing a new diagnostic test for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 peptides in saliva.

“We expect that the accuracy of this test will be high because the peptide/proteins we are using is a marker for a specific SARS-CoV-2 antibody, whereas other tests often aren’t that specific”

According to the researchers, the test has clear advantages over similar SARS-CoV-2 detection methods currently being used in research. For example, it is less invasive and more sensitive and yields results in less than 5 minutes. Additionally, the test will come at an affordable price and can conveniently be taken at home or in places that do not have health care facilities.

The prototype testing device will be similar in size to a cellphone and will include features similar to those of pregnancy tests. Once the virus biomarkers combine with SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, an indicator will turn a certain color, thus indicating the presence of the virus in the saliva.

“We expect that the accuracy of this test will be high because the peptide/proteins we are using is a marker for a specific SARS-CoV-2 antibody, whereas other tests often aren’t that specific,” Siqueira noted in a press release. “As well, other saliva-based tests are based on ribonucleic acid (RNA) which synthesizes proteins, but this test is based on proteins themselves, and since proteins last longer in the saliva than RNA, the virus is more detectable,” he added.

Siqueira hopes that the test will also prove useful in detecting mild or asymptomatic COVID-19 cases, since most of the tests currently in use are not able to do so. The saliva samples will be acquired from the Saskatchewan Health Authority and the Royal University Hospital, and the test should become available to the public by March 2021.

A different part of the study is being led by a researcher from U of R, Dr. Mohan Babu, who is responsible for developing antiviral peptides that will block SARS-CoV-2 from entering or replicating human cells.

Examining COVID-19 incidence rates among Canadian dentists

In the second project, the researchers will collect saliva samples from dentists in Canada to determine the incidence rate of COVID-19 among dentists upon their return to the workplace.

“The close contact between dentists and patients, along with the use of aerosol-generating procedures, makes dental offices a potentially high-risk environment for the COVID-19 transmission,” said Siqueira. “Now that dental offices are beginning to reopen, they are implementing infection control, treatment protocols and other procedures, but there is minimal scientific evidence to support these measures. More information is needed to ensure we have evidence-based infection control guidelines that protect both the patients and the dentists.”

The researchers will collect saliva samples from 220 dentists every four weeks for one year. They will also distribute questionnaires that contain COVID-19-related questions. The data will enable the team to accurately assess the potential risk of infection in dental offices, to determine the correct personal protective equipment that should be used in dental settings, and to identify appropriate infection control measures in order to ensure the safety of patients and staff.

  1. Vanessa says:

    Buenas tardes quisiera saber si este año se puede aplicar para el máster clínico en implantologia

  2. Juan Layza says:

    Hola, quisiera información sobre especialidad en endodoncia.

  3. May GAN Mei Fang says:

    Wegens ziekte tandartsenpraktijk over te nemen
    Mijn tandarts programma is Dentadmin, ATX in Wetteren. Onze afspraken worden geregeld door Ringfoon in Brugge.
    Ik bied mijn patientenbestand aan, volgens support Dentadmin zijn er 479 actieve patienten. Het dossier wordt meegeleverd en ik vraag het bedrag van Euro 7000 hiervoor. Evtl. Complete tandarts apparatuur en 2e identieke unit over te nemen.
    De praktijk ligt in Essen, Belgie, 10 km van Roosendaal.
    Mijn ervaren assistente, zolang er niet gewerkt wordt in mijn praktijk, stel ik per dag ter beschikking. Veel is bespreekbaar.

  4. Yolanda Hol says:

    Ik heb oude kronen in mijn mond (ongeveer 25-30 jaar oud). Een aantal jaren terug kreeg ik klachten dat het tandvlees aangetast was en zakte weer weg. Sinds ruim anderhalf jaar is het zo erg. Ik kan geen pittig, zuur, hard meer eten. Poetsen is een groot probleem. De KNO-arts heeft dit gediagnosticeerd als orale Lichen Planus. Nu kwam de mondhygienist erachter dat het precies op de plekken waas kronen zijn en het wangslijmvlies. Het metaal van de kronen is zichtbaar. Kan de oorzaak de kronen zijn?

  5. Honar Dosti says:

    Graag wilde ik het proefpakket aanvragen van CB12

  6. Steve says:

    Ron Jonsson

    Wrote:

    More BS data. The article headlines state the death rate is actually 0.26 but contradicts itself under the “overall by age” it says 0.4%, which is almost twice the rate. The numbers here are meaningless, particularly when considering the CDC is manipulated by political forces.”

    0.4% is among symptomatic cases. 0.26% is the overall IFR including both symptomatic cases and cases where no symptoms manifest, i.e. asymptomatic cases. The latter data is mostly taken from antibody testing since few asymptomatic people will seek conventional testing, especially when they are being told to social distance, thus they must be sought out by researchers. This makes perfect sense since cases which are symptomatic would quite logically be expected to be more severe and result in higher IFR than asymptomatic ones which will have an IFR at or very near 0% (0% absent some unproven aspect of the disease which can cause spontaneous death without symptoms appearing). So no, neither the data nor the conclusions drawn from it are “BS”, you are just not comprehending what you are reading. Alas a common problem now in America.

  7. Robert ferroni says:

    Como obter este programa? Tem algum curso para ensinar a executar

  8. Appreciate your suggestion. The term “iatrogenic” has been widely used. Though more specific terms as “odontoiatrogenic” and “dentistogenic” should be accepted by the fraternity. Also if continued on the same line there should be some different term for mishaps of “surgeons origin”, but they too widely use the same term in similar clinical situations.

  9. Iván says:

    Referencias bibliográficas sobre esterilizar mascarillas. GRACIAS…

  10. Thanks for sharing!

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