The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) facilities and screening centres have adopted saliva-based Covid-19 testing for children aged 3 to 16 years.
The test costs Dh150 — the same as a PCR test in Dubai — and the results are made available within 24 hours.
The “research-driven and evidence-based move” comes after a joint study by the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU) and DHA highlighted the diagnostic accuracy of the saliva-based test in children.
The research team took both saliva and nasal swabs from 476 children who went for Covid-10 screening to DHA facilities. The samples were then tested for detection of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the coronavirus.
The study found that saliva could be used for viral detection with 87.7 per cent sensitivity and 98.5 per cent specificity. The positive and negative predictive values for saliva tests were 92.2 per cent and 97.6 per cent, respectively.