Collection deviceResearchers are constantly finding new ways to figure out what makes us human beings tick, and one of the newer methods makes you want to spit—literally.

Saliva is full of analytes and biomarkers that create a biological journal of exposure to chemicals and disease, and genetic variability. However, the collection of oral fluid has always proved cumbersome, with researchers depending on swabs or collection cups.

A new tool developed by the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (JHUSON) Center for Interdisciplinary Salivary Bioscience Research (CISBR) in collaboration with SalivaBio, LLC, will improve the ease of oral fluid collection, while maintaining the integrity of the biospecimen.   

 “Our studies show that swabs used to collect saliva can retain analytes, cause interference with assays, result in inaccurate estimates of saliva flow rates, and may even produce inaccurate assay results,” notes Douglas A. Granger, PhD, Director of CISBR and professor of Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health at Hopkins.

The new Whole Saliva Collection Device—available for use in February—is a small, polypropylene collection tube with an integral adapter that comes individually wrapped in a clean, foil pouch with ready-to-go instructions, and is a universal fit with common cryo vials. “It’s not rocket science,” Granger says, “it’s a practical solution that will enable saliva analytes to be integrated effectively into basic and clinical studies and consumer applications.”