Saliva-based COVID-19 test billed as a game-changer

Community Sep 03, 2020 by Mike Pearson Hamilton Mountain News

With cold and flu season on the horizon, Dr. Michael Glogauer believes a saliva-based test for COVID-19 will be critical to keep society functioning.

Glogauer is chief of dentistry for the University Health Network and head of dental oncology at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. He also operates a private, Hamilton-based practice, OMG Perio.

For the last two decades, Glogauer has been conducting research on saliva as a diagnostic tool.

Today, he’s leading the charge to approve a saliva-based test for COVID-19 that’s less invasive than a nasal swab. The test has been submitted to Health Canada and approval is pending.

“Instead of having your brain tickled with a swab, you can just have your mouth swabbed. And it works just as well,” Glogauer said in a Sept. 2 interview.

On the same day he spoke with Hamilton Community News, Glogauer was slated to connect with federal health officials — including the deputy health minister — to discuss approval of the test in Canada.

Glogauer said five saliva-based tests, including the one he’s hoping to see approved here, are already approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration. He hopes Health Canada will approve the test so it can be administered on a widespread basis in schools and workplaces this fall.

“We’re working extremely hard right now,” said Glogauer. “We’ve got the test with my partners in the United States. It’s a test that’s been used in the United States probably over half a million times.”

Looking ahead to cold and flu season, Glogauer said the saliva-based test will be “critically important” as more patients present with flu-like symptoms.

The saliva test can be administered by patients themselves, without the aid of a nurse. It's also much easier to administer on children compared to conventional nasal swab testing.

Glogauer said the saliva test could help boost test numbers while eliminating barriers like long line-ups at conventional nasal swab testing centres.

“It’s essential,” said Glogauer. “I can tell you a lot of adults don’t want to get tested because of the pain or discomfort associated with the testing, or because they’re having to take time off work to go to a testing centre.”

At OMG Perio, Glogauer was quick to take precautions when the novel coronavirus shut down many workplaces in mid-March. The Main Street East clinic remained open for emergencies and today, about three quarters of patients have returned for regular appointments.

The office includes walled offertories for a sealed compartment. HEPA filtration units were brought in to circulate the air and rid the environment of viral aerosols. Heating and air conditioning units were optimized and Plexiglas barriers were installed. Staff received special training and personal protective equipment was acquired.

Glogauer said he understands why patients might still be hesitant to return to the dentist. But, he stresses that dental care shouldn’t be considered elective.

“My concern is that I don’t actually think that this virus is ever actually going to go away,” Glogauer said. “It’s going to be with us long term.”

Questions linger, for example, on when a vaccine will be approved, how effective it will be and whether a sufficient percentage of the population will be inoculated.

“We’re going to have to learn to safely live in the environment we’re in,” Glogauer said. “I think we need to do everything we can to get our lives back to normal with accommodations and the saliva testing can be a significant part of that.”

Saliva-based COVID-19 test billed as a game-changer

Dr. Michael Glogauer hopes to receive Health Canada approval

Community Sep 03, 2020 by Mike Pearson Hamilton Mountain News

With cold and flu season on the horizon, Dr. Michael Glogauer believes a saliva-based test for COVID-19 will be critical to keep society functioning.

Glogauer is chief of dentistry for the University Health Network and head of dental oncology at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. He also operates a private, Hamilton-based practice, OMG Perio.

For the last two decades, Glogauer has been conducting research on saliva as a diagnostic tool.

Today, he’s leading the charge to approve a saliva-based test for COVID-19 that’s less invasive than a nasal swab. The test has been submitted to Health Canada and approval is pending.

Related Content

“Instead of having your brain tickled with a swab, you can just have your mouth swabbed. And it works just as well,” Glogauer said in a Sept. 2 interview.

On the same day he spoke with Hamilton Community News, Glogauer was slated to connect with federal health officials — including the deputy health minister — to discuss approval of the test in Canada.

Glogauer said five saliva-based tests, including the one he’s hoping to see approved here, are already approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration. He hopes Health Canada will approve the test so it can be administered on a widespread basis in schools and workplaces this fall.

“We’re working extremely hard right now,” said Glogauer. “We’ve got the test with my partners in the United States. It’s a test that’s been used in the United States probably over half a million times.”

Looking ahead to cold and flu season, Glogauer said the saliva-based test will be “critically important” as more patients present with flu-like symptoms.

The saliva test can be administered by patients themselves, without the aid of a nurse. It's also much easier to administer on children compared to conventional nasal swab testing.

Glogauer said the saliva test could help boost test numbers while eliminating barriers like long line-ups at conventional nasal swab testing centres.

“It’s essential,” said Glogauer. “I can tell you a lot of adults don’t want to get tested because of the pain or discomfort associated with the testing, or because they’re having to take time off work to go to a testing centre.”

At OMG Perio, Glogauer was quick to take precautions when the novel coronavirus shut down many workplaces in mid-March. The Main Street East clinic remained open for emergencies and today, about three quarters of patients have returned for regular appointments.

The office includes walled offertories for a sealed compartment. HEPA filtration units were brought in to circulate the air and rid the environment of viral aerosols. Heating and air conditioning units were optimized and Plexiglas barriers were installed. Staff received special training and personal protective equipment was acquired.

Glogauer said he understands why patients might still be hesitant to return to the dentist. But, he stresses that dental care shouldn’t be considered elective.

“My concern is that I don’t actually think that this virus is ever actually going to go away,” Glogauer said. “It’s going to be with us long term.”

Questions linger, for example, on when a vaccine will be approved, how effective it will be and whether a sufficient percentage of the population will be inoculated.

“We’re going to have to learn to safely live in the environment we’re in,” Glogauer said. “I think we need to do everything we can to get our lives back to normal with accommodations and the saliva testing can be a significant part of that.”

Saliva-based COVID-19 test billed as a game-changer

Dr. Michael Glogauer hopes to receive Health Canada approval

Community Sep 03, 2020 by Mike Pearson Hamilton Mountain News

With cold and flu season on the horizon, Dr. Michael Glogauer believes a saliva-based test for COVID-19 will be critical to keep society functioning.

Glogauer is chief of dentistry for the University Health Network and head of dental oncology at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. He also operates a private, Hamilton-based practice, OMG Perio.

For the last two decades, Glogauer has been conducting research on saliva as a diagnostic tool.

Today, he’s leading the charge to approve a saliva-based test for COVID-19 that’s less invasive than a nasal swab. The test has been submitted to Health Canada and approval is pending.

Related Content

“Instead of having your brain tickled with a swab, you can just have your mouth swabbed. And it works just as well,” Glogauer said in a Sept. 2 interview.

On the same day he spoke with Hamilton Community News, Glogauer was slated to connect with federal health officials — including the deputy health minister — to discuss approval of the test in Canada.

Glogauer said five saliva-based tests, including the one he’s hoping to see approved here, are already approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration. He hopes Health Canada will approve the test so it can be administered on a widespread basis in schools and workplaces this fall.

“We’re working extremely hard right now,” said Glogauer. “We’ve got the test with my partners in the United States. It’s a test that’s been used in the United States probably over half a million times.”

Looking ahead to cold and flu season, Glogauer said the saliva-based test will be “critically important” as more patients present with flu-like symptoms.

The saliva test can be administered by patients themselves, without the aid of a nurse. It's also much easier to administer on children compared to conventional nasal swab testing.

Glogauer said the saliva test could help boost test numbers while eliminating barriers like long line-ups at conventional nasal swab testing centres.

“It’s essential,” said Glogauer. “I can tell you a lot of adults don’t want to get tested because of the pain or discomfort associated with the testing, or because they’re having to take time off work to go to a testing centre.”

At OMG Perio, Glogauer was quick to take precautions when the novel coronavirus shut down many workplaces in mid-March. The Main Street East clinic remained open for emergencies and today, about three quarters of patients have returned for regular appointments.

The office includes walled offertories for a sealed compartment. HEPA filtration units were brought in to circulate the air and rid the environment of viral aerosols. Heating and air conditioning units were optimized and Plexiglas barriers were installed. Staff received special training and personal protective equipment was acquired.

Glogauer said he understands why patients might still be hesitant to return to the dentist. But, he stresses that dental care shouldn’t be considered elective.

“My concern is that I don’t actually think that this virus is ever actually going to go away,” Glogauer said. “It’s going to be with us long term.”

Questions linger, for example, on when a vaccine will be approved, how effective it will be and whether a sufficient percentage of the population will be inoculated.

“We’re going to have to learn to safely live in the environment we’re in,” Glogauer said. “I think we need to do everything we can to get our lives back to normal with accommodations and the saliva testing can be a significant part of that.”