The use of saliva specimens for detection of influenza A and B viruses by rapid influenza diagnostic tests

Jung Yoon, Seung Gyu Yun, Jeonghun Nam, Sung Hyuk Choi, Chae Seung Lim

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22 Citations (Scopus)


Background and objectives Diagnostic tests for influenza infection commonly use nasopharyngeal swabs (NPS) even though these are invasive to obtain. As an alternative specimen, we evaluated the diagnostic usefulness of saliva samples with rapid influenza diagnostic tests (RIDTs). Study design Both NPS and saliva samples were collected from 385 influenza suspected patients and analyzed using Sofia Influenza A + B Fluorescence Immunoassay (Quidel Corporation, San Diego, CA, USA), ichroma TRIAS Influenza A + B (Boditech, Chuncheon, Korea), SD Bioline Influenza Ag (Standard Diagnostic, Yonggin, Korea), BinaxNOW Influenza A/B antigen kit (Alere Inc., Waltham, MA, USA), and real-time reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR). Results Of the 385 patients, 31.2% (120/385) were positive for influenza A, and 7.5% (29/385) were positive for influenza B virus with saliva or NPS by RT-PCR. The diagnostic sensitivity was slightly higher in NPS than in saliva samples for both influenza A and B by all of the four RIDTs. The diagnostic sensitivities of Sofia and ichroma TRIAS were significantly superior to those of the other conventional influenza RIDTs with both types of sample. The sensitivities of Sofia and ichroma TRIAS with saliva specimens were comparable to the sensitivities of the other two conventional RIDTs with NPS specimens. The simultaneous use of saliva and NPS samples exhibited improved sensitivity from 10.0% to 13.3% for influenza A and from 10.3% to 17.2% for influenza B compared to using NPS alone. Conclusions This study demonstrates that saliva is a useful specimen for influenza detection, and that the combination of saliva and NPS could improve the sensitivities of influenza RIDTs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-19
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Virological Methods
Publication statusPublished - 2017 May 1


  • Influenza virus
  • Nasopharyngeal swab
  • RT-PCR
  • Rapid influenza detection kits
  • Saliva

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology


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