- Prior to sample collection, you will need to confirm the identity of the sample provider and that an acceptable sample will be collected.
i. This may include asking for the sample provider’s name, date of birth, or a photo ID.
ii. Be sure to confirm what questions need to be asked with your testing laboratory.
The sample collector must don PPE (surgical or N95 mask and nitrile or latex gloves) prior to contact with the sample provider.
The sample provider must clean his or her hands using alcohol-based sanitizer or soap and water (no fragrances).
The sample collector will ensure all collection materials are labeled with the correct identifying information by verifying with the sample provider.
The sample collector can encourage saliva production by telling the sample provider to think about food (favorite foods, upcoming meals, something sour, etc.). Even just thinking about the collection itself can help to stimulate saliva production.
- Important questions relating to sample collection include:
i. When was the last time you ate or drank anything?
ii. Have you chewed any gum or had any candy in the last 30 minutes?
iii. When did you last clean your teeth or use mouthwash?
If needed, have the sample provider take a drink of water to clean out his or her mouth. Then, wait 10 minutes before proceeding with the collection.
The sample collector will give the collection container to the sample provider.
The sample collector will ask the sample provider to remove one side of his or her mask.
The sample provider will remove the lid of the collection container and gently expel saliva into the collection tube until at least 0.5 mL has been collected.
- Thinking about this while preparing to collect the sample can help ensure enough can be pooled in the mouth quickly and easily.
If the sample provider is struggling to produce a sample, have him or her close the tube, replace the mask, and take a few minutes to relax and pool more saliva into his or her mouth before trying again.
If anything other than saliva is collected (e.g., mucus, food particles), dispose of the sample into a sealed biohazard bag in a biohazard container, wait a few minutes, and start the process again.
Once at least 0.5 mL has been collected, the sample provider will securely replace the lid of the collection container.
The sample provider must again clean his or her hands using alcohol-based sanitizer or soap and water.
The sample collector will sterilize the collection tube with 70% ethanol or a disinfecting wipe.
The sample collector will register the sample collection and place the sample in a secondary container or a biohazard bag with a biohazard label.
The sample collector will transfer samples at room temperature to the laboratory for sample processing. The virus RNA in saliva remains stable at room temperature for at least 7 days.
If cold storage is available: to mitigate fluctuations in temperatures, samples can also be stored at 28°C until sample transport or processing (up to 7 days) or at -80°C for longer term storage.
- The total volume measured excludes any bubbles.
- Reminder: This is the collection of normal saliva; sniffing or coughing up deeper material must be avoided.