Barcelona researchers develop a device that detects Covid in saliva

Barcelona researchers develop a device that detects Covid in saliva. image: google maps - ramon pallisa

A device that detects Covid in saliva is being developed by a team of researchers in Barcelona

Researchers from the Barcelona Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO) and the AIDS Research Institute (IrsiCaixa) have developed a device that uses light to detect Covid-19 in saliva samples in less than 30 minutes.

This low-cost, portable, and non-invasive device can detect very low concentrations of SARS-CoV-2 with a sensitivity of 91.2 per cent, and a specificity of 90 per cent, values ​​ similar to those of a PCR test, and offers a response almost as fast as an antigen test.

According to the researchers – who have published their study in the journal Biomedical Optical Express – this new diagnostic test using light is cheaper, and just as accurate as a PCR, and does not require specialised personnel and equipment.

The work has been led by ICFO researchers Rubaiya Hussain, Alfredo E. Ongaro and Ewelina Wajs, led by Valerio Pruneri, with the participation of IrsiCaixa and the Department of Health of the Generalitat.

IrsiCaixa researchers Marisa Rodriguez and Jorge Carrillo explained that since the beginning of the pandemic it was known that it was “very important to detect infected people to control the spread of the virus”.

“We decided to look for an alternative to PCR tests and Rapid Antigen Tests (TAR), that would combine the advantages and strengths of both tests, and that would detect SARS-CoV-2 infection from saliva samples, which are easier to obtain, and cause less discomfort to the patient”, they added, as reported by


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Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]