Our University of Illinois (UIUC) colleagues have published their scientific research on saliva testing and their system of mitigation. They have kept their 46,000 person campus at Urbana-Champaign safe through five major COVID-19 surges, without a single COVID-19 hospitalisation or death.
It is a huge data release and it has been crucial to Rako Science's diagnostic validation study. University of Illinois supplied Rako Science with the paired samples that were part of this published study. At two independent New Zealand laboratories we were able to demonstrate 100% concordance with UIUC results. Hat-tip to VUW Associate Professor, Janet Pitman and IGENZ Lab Director, Dr Amanda Dixon-McIver.
The data has been the context for Rako Science's New Zealand-based diagnostic validation study that allowed us the confidence to conclude that Rako Science's PCR saliva test is at least, if not more, accurate than nasopharyngeal swab tests. There were 66 nasopharyngeal swab tests paired with saliva in the UIUC study, and an additional number of mid-turbinate swabs.
Rako Science has conducted more than 10,000 tests in New Zealand since January 2021.
"ISO 15189 Medical laboratories — Requirements for quality and competence" requires the measurement of the performance characteristics of diagnostic specificity and diagnostic sensitivity. Without the real world paired samples UIUC supplied Rako Science it would not have been possible to diagnostically validate and demonstrate the accuracy of the Rako Science saliva test. Without diagnostic validation it is impossible to know or report diagnostic specificity or diagnostic sensitivity.
The Rako Science PCR COVID-19 saliva test is the only diagnostically validated test in New Zealand and the only test that meets the requirements of the ISO 15189 international standard.
Now that the UIUC study is released and so rich in content we will be reporting on a number of its conclusions in separate blogs in the coming days and weeks.