British Columbia

COVID-19 swish, gargle and spit test coming for school aged children in B.C.

British Columbia is introducing a new mouth rinse test for students from kindergarten to Grade 12 to help make it easier for children and teenagers to check whether they have COVID-19.

New COVID-19 test is less invasive than a nasal swab and was created in B.C., says provincial health officer

A new COVID-19 swish and gargle test method for children is now available at all assessment centres in New Brunswick. The test is available for children who are unable to receive the nose swab, Dr. Russell said. (BCCDC file photo)

British Columbia is introducing a new mouth rinse, gargle and spit test for students from kindergarten to Grade 12 to help make it easier for children and teenagers to check whether they have COVID-19.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says the new test is the first of its kind in the world and was developed in B.C. 

Henry says getting tested is key in the fight against the pandemic and the test will make it easier to collect samples from young people.

"Unlike the nasopharyngeal swab this is a new saline gargle, where you put a little bit of normal saline  — so the sterile water in your mouth  — you swish it around a little bit and you spit it into a little tube, and that's an easier way to collect it for young people," said Henry. 

"Not only is this new method more comfortable, particularly for our younger children, it's a B.C. company that's going to be providing the collections tubes." 

Henry says the made in B.C. product will reduce the province's dependency on the global supply chain for lab testing. 

WATCH | B.C. approves COVID-19 rinse and spit test for children:

B.C. approves COVID-19 rinse-and-spit test for children

2 years ago
Duration 1:29
British Columbia approves a new COVID-19 test for children that has them swish and gargle salt water then spit it into a tube as an alternative to the nose swab test.

The test can be done without a health professional by parents or children themselves.

The nose swab will continue to be used for younger children or those who can't follow the swish, gargle and spit instructions. The B.C. Centre for Disease Control says both tests are able to detect if a child has COVID-19.

Private and public health officials have been touting various methods under consideration across the country for saliva-based COVID-19 tests as lines grow at assessment centres.

Henry says the new test will be available at COVID-19 collection and assessment centres across the province. 

With files from CBC News


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?