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Launching a saliva-based SARS-CoV-2 surveillance testing program on a university campus

, Erica A. Moehle, Cara E. Brook, Andrew H. Doudna Cate, Lea B. Witkowsky, Rohan Sachdeva, Ariana Hirsh, Kerrie Barry, Jennifer R. Hamilton, Enrique Lin-Shiao,
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Published: 26 May 2021

Abstract: Regular surveillance testing of asymptomatic individuals for SARS-CoV-2 has been center to SARS-CoV-2 outbreak prevention on college and university campuses. Here we describe the voluntary saliva testing program instituted at the University of California, Berkeley during an early period of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in 2020. The program was administered as a research study ahead of clinical implementation, enabling us to launch surveillance testing while continuing to optimize the assay. Results of both the testing protocol itself and the study participants’ experience show how the program succeeded in providing routine, robust testing capable of contributing to outbreak prevention within a campus community and offer strategies for encouraging participation and a sense of civic responsibility.
Keywords: Virus testing / Saliva / SARS CoV 2 / Surveys / Pandemics / COVID 19 / Medical risk factors / Undergraduates

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