Epidemiology and Infection

Special Article

The use of saliva for viral diagnosis and screening.

Philip P. Mortimera1 and John V. Parrya1

a1 PHLS Virus References Laboratory, Colindale, London NW9 5HT

The strength and diversity of antibody responses to infection are the basis for many of the most rapid and sensitive tests in virology, yet the need to obtain the patient's consent and co–operation, to collect blood from a vein and to separate the serum before the test often deters investigators, particularly if children are involved or if there is added risk, difficulty or cost in doing the venepuncture.