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In the last two years of the corona pandemic, our nose was used to detect viruses in the body. While health workers took samples by inserting swab sticks into the nose, at-home tests also made people masters of taking samples from the nose. But now amid rising cases of Omicron, scientists are saying that the best way to detect the virus is not the nose, but the mouth.
Corona virus first appears in the mouth and throat
University of Maryland researcher Dr. Donald Milton says that the corona virus first appears in the mouth and throat. This means, the corona test method we were using so far has many problems. According to some research, the virus can be detected in the early days from the saliva of the mouth instead of the nose.
Corona sample taken by mouth is 12 times better
Dr. Milton and his team did a research to identify the better method of corona test. In this, samples were taken from the nose and mouth of corona patients even before symptoms appeared. According to research, three times more virus was found in the mouth than in the nose. Also, samples taken by mouth gave more corona positive results. It was 12 times more than the nose.
Saliva test necessary to prevent Omicron infection
Dr. Robbie Sikka says that in the midst of the wave of Omicron, we need to update the corona testing. This variant duplicates and spreads very rapidly in the body. Also, in most of the cases, it does not cause any symptoms and it also leaves the body quickly. Therefore, it is necessary to test the saliva of the patients instead of the nose. Some experts also believe that Omicron may cause early multiplication in the mouth and throat. However, this cannot be confirmed at the moment.
A recent research conducted in South Africa found that nasal samples are better at detecting delta variants. According to experts, everything is turning upside down in the case of the Omicron variant.
Lack of health infrastructure with governments
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently approved some saliva-based corona test kits. These are useful in conducting corona test of children in schools. But still governments around the world do not have good infrastructure for this test.
Microbiologist Anne Wylie of the Yale School of Public Health says that many governments and labs are still stuck on the old method of corona testing. We have to change technology with the passage of time.
Limitations of Saliva Method
The California Institute of Technology has found in one of its research that the virus accumulates more in the nose a few days after the corona infection. This means, even though the virus is easily detectable in the mouth in the initial days, it is necessary to examine the nose after some time.
According to Dr. Joseph DeRici, the environment of the mouth is never the same. Sometimes it is dry and sometimes it is wet. Sometimes it is more acidic and sometimes it is basic. This can make testing for the virus difficult. Since there are no such changes in the nose, it is better to remove the sample from here.