Use of Saliva-PCR as an alternative diagnostic tool for COVID-19 positive cases.


  • Tehreem Shahid RMI, Peshawar.
  • Zain ul Abideen KIMS, Kohat.
  • Sara Maryium Sawat Medical College, Sawat.
  • Zia ul Arifeen KIDS, Kohat.
  • Muhammad Arsalan KIDS, Kohat.
  • Najmush Shakireen PGMI, Hayatabad, Peshawar.



Covid-19, Nasopharyngeal PCR, RT-qPCR


Objective: To find the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in saliva and oropharyngeal secretions in confirmed cases of COVID 19 to establish them as potential diagnostic alternatives. Study Design: Cross Sectional study. Setting: Hayatabad Medical Complex and Public Reference Lab of Khyber Medical University, Peshawar. Period: April 2022 to September 2022. Material & Methods: Study included SARS-CoV-2 patients confirmed by a positive RT-qPCR diagnosed through nasopharyngeal swab. Data was collected using a digital questionnaire. Saliva was collected using "passive drool" procedure. RNA was extracted from saliva samples and virus was detected through one-step-RT-qPCR using Universal qPCR Master Mix. The data obtained was presented using graphical representation in the form of proportions. Results: The study included 211 individuals with a wide range from 12 to 75 years. There were 146 (69%) males and 65 (31%) females.17% reported being hospitalized or received medical treatment recently. Only six individuals reported regular use of medications for hypertension and diabetes. 30% of participants reported a positive response when asked about their pervious respiratory allergic conditions. Results showed that out of 211 participants 75 (36%) were positive for COVID-19 using saliva-PCR, while the remaining 136 (64%) were negative. The findings showed that saliva-PCR had lower sensitivity than nasopharyngeal-PCR in detecting COVID-19. Conclusion: The results of saliva-PCR diagnosis showed lower sensitivity than nasopharyngeal-PCR in detecting COVID-19. Additional research is required to substantiate the effectiveness of PCR using saliva as an alternative diagnostic option.

Author Biographies

Tehreem Shahid, RMI, Peshawar.

BDS. M.Phil (Physiology), Lecturer Physiology, 

Zain ul Abideen, KIMS, Kohat.

MBBS M.Phil, Associate Professor Physiology, 

Sara Maryium, Sawat Medical College, Sawat.

BDS, M.Phil, Associate Professor Biochemistry, 

Zia ul Arifeen, KIDS, Kohat.

BDS, Lecturer Prosthodontics, 

Muhammad Arsalan, KIDS, Kohat.

BDS, Demonstrator Physiology, 

Najmush Shakireen, PGMI, Hayatabad, Peshawar.

MBBS, Trainee Medical Officer (Pulmonology),