PCR Saline Gargle Test

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The University of Arizona is transitioning to a new PCR collection method that’s more comfortable for test takers: PCR - saline gargle (SG). Read more about the saline gargle test in this UArizona news story.

How does the SG test work?

You are provided a saline (saltwater) solution to swish and gargle in your mouth and throat for 45 seconds. You then spit the saline into a tube, which is transported to an on-campus lab and tested. Watch this video for a 1-minute demonstration.

How do I participate?

The UArizona main test sites will begin transitioning to the PCR saline gargle test on January 13, 2021. Similar to antigen tests, it is necessary to register and schedule an appointment. Visit Testing Locations & Hours for more information.

Know before you go!

For 30 minutes before your saline gargle test, do not:

  • Eat
  • Drink
  • Use mouthwash
  • Brush your teeth
  • Chew gum
  • Smoke or vape

Testing Fast Facts:

  • PCR test results (NP and SG) are usually available by the next day. Antigen test results are available within 2 hours.
  • The PCR-SG test is generally more sensitive than the traditional saliva test and the antigen test.
  • Through dual testing (PCR and antigen tests on the same individuals), UArizona researchers have shown good concordance of results for those actively infected.
  • Compared to the traditional saliva test, the SG collection method is ideal for the extremely dry climate typical of southern Arizona, which makes it difficult for some people to stay properly hydrated and produce the necessary amount of saliva needed for a spit test.