The sometimes painful, eye-watering experience of a nasal swab COVID-19 test that has been a key resource in the pandemic and vital to maintaining safety over the past years has new competition at one New York hospital.
Mount Sinai Health System on Monday announced the launch of a COVID-19 PCR saliva test designed to detect positive cases of the virus without the use of the often uncomfortable and invasive nose tests.
The latest testing development in response to the ongoing pandemic is said to return results within 48 hours, although the hospital says most will only need 24.
One hour prior to a saliva test, patients cannot eat or drink (including water), brush or floss teeth, use mouthwash, smoke or chew gum.
Mount Sinai's program works in partnership with New York's Excelsior Pass program. Results from the tests are sent to the Excelsior Pass app, the newest tool touted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo that is meant to quicken the return of live performances, sports events and other in-person activities. Test results can also be obtained through MyChart.
“We developed one of the first highly sensitive antibody tests, pioneered innovative therapies to treat COVID-19, and are researching the lingering effects suffered by ‘long-haulers.’ This program is designed to help our community in slowing transmission and getting us back to normal,” said David L. Reich, MD,President and Chief Operating Officer, The Mount Sinai Hospital.
The hospital describes the saliva testing as an "easy, safe, and accurate" alternative to the nasal swab tests developed in the beginning to the pandemic to aid in virus detection.
The cost of a saliva test is $139.50 and is not covered by insurance.
Mount Sinai offers four saliva testing locations in Manhattan: Mount Sinai Business Health at 226 West 14th Street, Mount Sinai Doctors at Health Quarters Noho at 632 Broadway, Mount Sinai Doctors at 55 East 34th Street, and Mount Sinai Express Care at 1190 Fifth Avenue.
Nasal swab tests will still be administered through the hospital network.