SARS-CoV-2 RNA stability in saliva and dry swabs for storage and
transport at ambient temperature for at least 9 days: A cost efficient
and practical alternative
During the current COVID-19 pandemic, different methods have been used
to evaluate patients suspected with infection of SARS-CoV-2. In this
study, we evaluate the longevity of saliva and dry swab samples to
retain SARS-CoV-2 for storage and transport at different environmental
settings. Our results show that at ambient temperature of 20°C,
SARS-CoV-2 RNA remains stable for up to 9 days giving a long span of
time for transport and storage without compromising clinical results.
Additionally, this study demonstrates that saliva and dry swabs
specimens can also be stored at -20°C and +4°C for up to 26 days without
affecting RT-qPCR results. Our data is relevant for low-and
middle-income countries, which have limited access to rapid refrigerated
transport and storage of samples representing an economical alternative.
Finally, our study demonstrates that dry swabs provide clear advantages
over using transport medium.