The world's first at-home pregnancy test that uses saliva rather than the more traditional urine has been developed and is now on sale to the public. It represents the first big shakeup in pregnancy testing since at-home tests became available in the 1970s.
The kit, called Salistick™, was developed by Israeli startup Salignostics, and is being distributed in the UK and Ireland by Abingdon Health.
“This exciting innovation offers women the opportunity to test for pregnancy in a cleaner, more straightforward and easier way, and is a long overdue development in the pregnancy testing market,” said Chris Yates, CEO of Abingdon Health plc, in a statement earlier this year.
Peeing on a stick is not most people’s favorite activity – let’s face it, no matter how good your aim is, some of it is going on your hand. It’s also not necessarily a convenient option for everyone, but until now it was either that or get a blood test at the doctor’s office if you wanted to confirm your pregnancy status. Market research by Salignostics showed that 68 percent of the women they sampled would choose a saliva-based test over a urine test.
The instructions that come with the product state that users must wait 30 minutes after eating or drinking before taking the test. The kit comes with a collection swab, which must be rotated around the saliva in your mouth for 90 seconds and then inserted into the analytical unit. And that’s it – five to 15 minutes later, you have your result.
Salistick™ detects the same hormone that other commercial pregnancy tests rely on: human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG). It starts to be produced very early in a pregnancy, by the embryonic tissues that will go on to form the placenta. Like urine pregnancy tests – and those rapid COVID tests we’ve become all too familiar with in recent years – the kit works on the principle of lateral flow.
Photos of positive pregnancy tests with the characteristic two lines are all over social media (try not to think about where that stick was just before the photo was taken), but even that is taken care of with Salistick™ – according to New Atlas, there’s a dedicated app you can use to share your result with family and friends.
But it doesn’t matter how easy and urine-free a test is if it doesn’t work. Abingdon Health reports that, when used correctly, Salistick™ is 96.32 percent accurate on day one after your missed period, and 97.35 percent on day two. It’s worth noting that this is a little lower than most conventional pee stick tests, many of which claim to be 99 percent accurate.
For many people, though, the hygiene and convenience aspect may be enough to outweigh a slight drop in accuracy. Abingdon Health also points out that not having to squirrel yourself away in the bathroom could mean that you can share the whole experience of taking the pregnancy test with your nearest and dearest if you so desire.
The manufacturers are seeking regulatory approval from the US Food and Drug Administration, so we could see this tech across the pond sometime soon.