With the world’s first saliva pregnancy test hitting the market, the days of urinating on a stick and then sharing those sticks online may be numbered.
The SaliStick, currently available in the UK and Ireland, works in a similar way to an oral COVID-19 test. A hand-held applicator is used to collect a saliva sample, which is then placed into the analysis unit. Results will appear on the screen within 10 minutes, with two lines indicating pregnancy and one returning a negative test.
It tests for elevated levels of beta-hCG, traditionally known as the pregnancy hormone, which is usually detected and steadily increases in saliva around three to four weeks.
In clinical trials with more than 300 women, the test proved to be approximately 95% accurate from the first day of a missed period. What’s more, an app lets you share the results digitally with loved ones, though photos often serve the same purpose.
While slightly less accurate than the claimed accuracy of popular traditional urine-based tests, the advantage is that you don’t need to find a bathroom or pee on your hands when trying to take a urine test. However, you do need to wait 30 minutes after eating or drinking to take the test.
Abingdon Health CEO Chris Yates, who partnered with the company, said: “This exciting innovation offers women the opportunity to test for pregnancy in a cleaner, more immediate and simpler way that the pregnancy testing market is long overdue development.” Behind the SaliStick is Salignostics, an Israeli saliva-testing startup.
Salignostics has been developing a line of saliva tests since its founding in 2016 and has applied for FDA authorization to market the product in the United States.
The company has scaled up production to be able to run one million tests per month. In the UK and Ireland, the SaliStick is exclusive to Superdrug stores and retails for £9.99 ($12.75), which is comparable to traditional pregnancy tests on the market.