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World-first saliva tests to start in Victoria’s COVID-19 hot spots

A world-first saliva test will be rolled out to Melbourne’s coronavirus hotspots from today as authorities race to contain the deadly disease and prevent suburban lockdowns.

“It basically means people can do it themselves, collect their own samples,” Professor Catherine Bennett, chair in Epidemiology at Deakin University, told 3AW Breakfast this morning.

“We hope it might make that difference in getting better uptake of the testing.”

Professor Bennett said the new tests would not impact the speed or accuracy of testing.

“It doesn’t change anything at the lab end, it’s really just at the specimen collection end and getting people participating in the testing.

“We still will have invisible cases with people who are not yet symptomatic or never get symptoms and if we can pick up, through more intensive testing in these high risk areas, those in-between people – the links, the missing links in some of these transmissions – then that will really help us understand how this is moving through the community.

“And that’s how we’ll work out if lockdown or other measures are going to help us contain this.”

Click PLAY for the full interview with Kate and Tony, filling in for Ross and John until July 10