As the number of COVID-19 cases surge, quick test results can help contain the virus. PCR (Polymer Chain Reaction) swab test is dominantly used in testing citizens for COVID-19. But it takes at least a day for the test results to come back. So across countries, several institutes are developing alternative testing methods that can give results in the least possible time.

Recently, there were reports that Israel had developed a COVID-19 saliva test that could give results in seconds. One Twitter user had shared the news and tweeted, “Look what Israel has developed a saliva test for #Covid19 that aims to get results in less than a second. This would help mankind to detect this deadly virus in the fastest possible time which would then arrest the spread.”

Archive of the Tweet can be accessed here.

Several Facebook users had also shared the news.

🦉🦉🦉🦉🦉🦉🦉🦉 This is a MUST-WATCH.The current swab test being used is not only expensive but "MASAKIT DIN".Antonio Zulueta

Posted by Cristina Zulueta on Thursday, August 20, 2020

The archive of the post can be accessed here.

Fact Check:

It is TRUE that Israel has developed a saliva test for COVID-19 which can give results in seconds but it is still undergoing trials and is likely to be approved by the year-end.

The New York Times reported the same on 13 August 2020 and said the super-quick saliva test for COVID-19 was developed by Sheba Medical Centre in Israel.

It reported that the test uses spectral analysis and Artificial Intelligence to detect COVID-19 particles in saliva. “Patients rinse their mouth with a saline wash and spit into a vial. This is then examined by a small spectral device that, in simple terms, shines a light on the specimen and analyses the reaction to see if it is consistent with COVID-19,” the report said.

The article also stated that this hospital has partnered with Israeli firm Newsight Imaging to bring the system into the market. The company said they were in the process of getting regulatory approval.

According to the latest article by Israel21c published on 18 August 2020, this super-quick saliva test has shown 95 per cent accuracy so far and is likely to come out by the end of this year after a few more trials. “Under laboratory conditions, we were clearly able to differentiate between COVID-19 samples that were positive and those that were negative with 95 percent accuracy rate,” said trial leader Dr. Eli Schwartz, founder of Sheba’s Center for Geographic Medicine and Tropical Diseases.

This news said the new tests could be made available by the end of this year if Newsight Imaging’s revolutionary SpectraLit device continues to show excellent results in ongoing clinical trials.

Finally, it is TRUE that the saliva test for COVID-19, which can give results in a few seconds, has been developed in Israel but it is yet to get regulatory approval.


This fact check has been published as part of the Internews Information Saves Lives: Rapid Response Fund project to NewsMeter

UPDATED: On August 27, 2020.

Vamsi Krishna Pothuru

Vamsi Krishna Pothuru completed his Masters in Communication from The University of Hyderabad. He has interned with The New Indian Express and Kriti Social Initiatives. With the specialization of media research in masters, he submitted his thesis on the topic of "Fact-checking Initiatives and their response to Fake News in India." He believes that fact-checkers have a huge role to play in the fight against fake news which is a dangerous undercurrent in social media reinforcing hatred and false perceptions. Along with fact-checking, he is also interested in writing about environmental issues and human interest stories.

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