For months, public health experts have been eagerly watching the companies developing spit tests for the coronavirus that could be used at home, producing results in a matter of minutes.
If these rapid saliva tests worked, as many news articles have pointed out, they could greatly expand the number of people getting tested. Some experts have even said they could perform as well as a vaccine in curbing the spread of the coronavirus and paving a path back to normalcy.
But so far, the technology is not panning out as some have hoped.
E25Bio and OraSure, two companies pursuing rapid at-home coronavirus tests, have abandoned efforts to use saliva in their products. Their tests, which detect pieces of coronavirus proteins called antigens, will for now rely on shallow nose swabs instead.
“If I was placing a bet — which I am, because I’m leading an antigen-based testing company — I