ADPH explains benefits of possible saline solution gargle test for COVID-19

Updated: Jun. 30, 2020 at 9:31 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - We’re on your side with a possible new and less invasive way to get tested for COVID-19.

We spoke with the Alabama Department of Public Health about the possibility of a saltwater gargle test.

After Monday’s joint announcement by UAB, ADPH and Governor Kay Ivey about their efforts to test college students by this fall, the Dean of UAB’s School of Medicine Dr. Selwyn Vickers said protocols for how testing will be administered are being developed.

He added that an oral saline gargle test is one they have under development right now.

And while we don't know if or when a saline gargle test will be used or available in Alabama, Dr. Karen Landers with ADPH explained the potential benefits of a test like this.

"Nasopharyngeal is more likely to provoke a cough reflex than oropharyngeal can invoke a cough reflex. And we certainly would want our healthcare workers to be less likely to be exposed to a person's cough," said Dr. Landers. "That's why using a nasal swab and potentially this saline wash could be ways to reduce our healthcare workers from being more exposed."

Dr. Landers said, at the present time, she's only familiar with articles about this saline gargle test in areas outside the country.

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