Israel has begun conducting saliva tests to detect COVID-19, the state's Ministry of Health, Bar Ilan University (BIU) and the Ministry of Defense said in a joint statement on Thursday.
The sampling is carried out in a testing compound in the coastal city of Tel Aviv, as part of a two-week pilot program to validate the saliva tests.
As part of the pilot, hundreds of people of different ages will be tested with both saliva and standard PCR swab tests to compare results, as well as the comfort and safety of the saliva sampling.
The waiting time for saliva test results is about 45 minutes, instead of several hours in the common swab test.
The program is included in a joint effort to identify and develop new technologies as part of the national actions to tackle the virus.
This effort is led by the Health Ministry's Healthcare Israel unit, whose role is to deliver life-saving healthcare innovations and the Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure (MAFAT) at the Defense Ministry.