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Jamal AJ, Mozafarihashjin M, Coomes E, et al. Sensitivity of nasopharyngeal swabs and saliva for the detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Clin Infect Dis. 2020;ciaa848. doi:10.1093/cid/ciaa848

We enrolled 91 consecutive in-patients with COVID-19 at six hospitals in Toronto, Canada, and tested one nasopharyngeal swab/saliva sample pair from each patient using real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction for SARS-CoV-2. Sensitivity was 89% for nasopharyngeal swabs and 72% for saliva (p=0.02); difference in sensitivity was greatest for sample pairs collected later in illness.

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