All schoolchildren in Qatar to undergo COVID-19 saliva test soon: Dr Maslamani

  • 1 month ago
All schoolchildren in Qatar to undergo COVID-19 saliva test soon: Dr Maslamani

Saliva-based COVID-19 tests highly accurate: Official

The new COVID-19 saliva-based testing method is very easy and highly accurate, said Dr. Elinas Al Kuwari, Chairperson Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), encouraging parents to let their children undergo a COVID-19 test if needed to ensure that they are free of infection.

She has said that the new method of saliva-based tests for COVID-19 is convenient for children. The saliva-based test is less intrusive for children as it does not require a swab to be inserted into the nose and back of the throat like the most common method of detecting COVID-19.

“Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is the standard test for diagnosing COVID-19 and now a new easiest testing method is available. The test can now by collecting sample of saliva by the patient after spitting. This new method is very easy and highly accurate. It is suitable for children and school students. It does not cause any pain or fear for them. 

"Therefore we encourage all parents not to hesitate their children undergo the PCR testing to ensure they are free of COVID-19,” said Dr. Al Kuwari in a video message. 

The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) earlier announced plans to introduce saliva-based COVID-19 tests for children from today (Sunday, September 20) as part of a national testing programme to gain a better understanding of infection rates.

Saliva tests can be easily completed by transferring saliva from the mouth into a sample pot. Studies around the world have been looking at the use of saliva-only swabs and the results have confirmed their effectiveness.

MoPH will work in collaboration with HMC and Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) to carry out tests for all students in both government and private schools in Qatar. 

Parental consent will be sought prior to any child being tested.

According to the Ministry, the tests will also help the authorities concerned diagnose if any child had been infected before, as usually some never show any symptoms. 

Out of more than 350,000 students and over 35,000 teachers in Qatar, less than 0.2 percent have tested positive since schools reopened on September 1, health officials have said.  

 

All schoolchildren in Qatar to undergo COVID-19 saliva test soon: Dr Maslamani

The Ministry of Public Health will soon introduce in schools a non-invasive saliva test that avoids the need for intrusive nasal swabs to test coronavirus, Hamad General Hospital Medical Director Dr Yousef Al Maslamani has said.

The new testing method is a significant departure from the standard and often painful nasopharyngeal swab, which remains the most common method of detecting COVID-19.

All schoolchildren will be tested, Dr Maslamani emphasized as he sought to dispel parents’ fears about sending their children to schools in an interview with Qatar Radio on Sunday.

Going to schools does not expose the students or the staff to additional risks of contracting the coronavirus because the rate of COVID-19 infection in schools is lower than that among the general public, he pointed out.

 Dr Maslamani said the decision to close some classrooms and schools should not raise parents’ concerns. Instead, they should feel reassured that strict measures are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in schools in Qatar, he added.

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