COVID-19 represents an unprecedented health, social and economic challenge in Australia and around the world. Support Burnet’s COVID-19 emergency response today.
To determine whether saliva is a potentially useful sample for screening for HIV infection when serum is not obtainable, saliva and serum samples from 50 HIV-infected and 50 uninfected subjects were tested for antibody to HIV-1 (anti-HIV-1) using a second-generation enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA; Abbott) and prototype antibody-capture ELISA (Wellcome). Of saliva specimens from HIV-infected people, six gave negative results on the Abbott and one on the Wellcome assays; all specimens from uninfected people were negative by both assays. Sensitivity for the Abbott assay was therefore 88.0% [95% confidence interval (Cl) 76.2-94.4%], an unacceptable level for screening purposes. Sensitivity for the Wellcome assay was 98% (95% Cl 89.5-99.6%), a more satisfactory level for population screening. Further validation of this technique is necessary, and of methods for collection of saliva specimens in particular.