Sit ‘n Spit: NIH spearheads salivary diagnostics research
The National Institutes of Health is partnering research on new saliva tests offering multiple and rapid analysis of salivary secretions for use at home and in the dentist’s office, calling for “more sensitive assays” useful in fighting terrorism or war. Oral fluids recently have shown “great diagnostic potential” in a variety of clinical situations, for detection of HIV and monitoring drug use (see the Spectrum Series report on saliva). But progress on this front hasn’t always kept pace with expectations. Now, says the NIH, the technology is ripe and the time at hand for simultaneous multi-analyte detection of markers for disease and exposure to environmental, occupational or abusive substances including agents dispersed by bioterrorists.