Molecular salivary swabs will be valid to obtain the green pass. The decree n. 105 approved in the Senate. What might seem like good news for unvaccinated school workers could turn out to be an unpleasant disappointment. In fact, the molecular salivary swab, albeit equated to nasal swabs, could have become a less invasive tool for obtaining certification. On the other hand, the waiting times for the response, calculated on 24 hours, would make the Government’s initiative almost or completely non-conclusive. However, a crack opened yesterday with the approval of an important amendment.
How salivary tests work
There are two types of salivary tests, molecular and antigenic (rapid), and their use is regulated by a circular from the Ministry of Health last May. The use of saliva, explains the circular, can be considered an option if it is not possible to obtain gold / nasopharyngeal swabs, preferably within the first five days of the onset of symptoms.
This is the less invasive test among those in circulation, the antigenic is do-it-yourself (it can also be done in the pharmacy), while the molecular, the one valid for the green pass, must be done in the laboratory. Generally it is recommended for those who have to check frequently, perhaps for work reasons, and is the most suitable for children, very elderly and disabled people.
The situation is different for that onei rapid antigenic, which will be used for screening for the school population: a research by the University of Padua promotes rapid salivary tests for mass screening: all employees with positive saliva results, in fact, underwent a nasopharyngeal swab within 24 hours and the tests were in agreement in 98% of cases. In fact, between October and December 2020, 5,579 employees of the university had joined the trial (86% adhesion rate), for a total of 19,850 salivary samples that were evaluated with a molecular technique (rRT-PCR) for Sars-Cov-2 . In this case the saliva was self-collected through a test tube with a cotton ball which is chewed for at least one minute in the morning before breakfast.
The amendment of the M5S: salivary molecular test for the green pass
The measure was introduced through an amendment to decree no. 105 on the Green pass, launched by the Council of Ministers on 23 July, already fired by the House on 9 September and approved by the Senate on 15.
Horizon Scuola interviewed in recent days, Angela Ianaro, the M5S MP who signed the amendment in question, who said: “Several studies have established the reliability of the molecular test, which will be the one that will allow you to obtain the Green Pass as established by the amendment in the committee. These are tests that require about 24 hours for the result and the cost is comparable to that of the molecular nasopharyngeal swab “.
24 hours for the result? To enter school regularly, one salivary swab a day would be needed
However, the resulting picture shows how much the measure risks being overshadowed, at least for school staff. In fact, if the time to examine the molecular salivary swab is 24 hours, and the teaching staff and unvaccinated ATA must take a swab every 48 hours to get the green pass, it is clear that with this timing, in order to work at school it would be a salivary molecular swab is required every 24 hours.
To confirm this, we contacted the Federation of the Orders of Italian Pharmacists (FOFI), which actually confirmed to us that the time it takes to get the salivary swab result is 24 hours.
How much do molecular salivary swabs cost?
Molecular salivary swabs can be purchased in pharmacies or on the Internet. The molecular type test, the only valid one to obtain the Green pass, should have costs rather similar to those of the traditional swab.
Based on data from AltroConsumo, we go from 64 a 105 approximately euro depending on the regions. Here are some examples: the average in Lazio and Campania it’s about 64 euro, in Emilia-Romagna of 105, while in Lombardy, Piedmont and Veneto of about 90 euro.
So, if we talk about mere saving of time, but also of economic convenience, teachers and ATA staff would still agree with the rapid nasal swab, which within 10-15 minutes provides a result and will be able to guarantee the green pass regularly to access school. Speaking of tampons: the Government, in the decree approved on September 16, provided for the controlled prices of rapid antigenic tampons until December 31, 2021. It will be 15 euros for adults and 8 euros for minors.
The opening of 72 hours
However, yesterday the approval of an amendment (not yet enforceable) that will allow molecular swabs to be valid for up to 72 hours, instead of 48 hours, is yesterday’s news. An amendment that could make it possible to limit the problems related to the delivery times of the results which, as previously mentioned, require 24 hours.