Israeli scientists have developed a test that can detect the Hepatitis C virus using saliva instead of serum.
Researchers led by Arieh Yaari of Soroka University Medical Centre in Israel carried out their study on 37 dialysis patients, people without kidney functions whose blood must be passed through a machine to filter out waste products, reported science portal SciDev Net.
Such patients have a high incidence of Hepatitis C.
The researchers reported 100 percent success at detecting Hepatitis C in the saliva of patients who had symptoms of the disease. This is comparable to the results of testing serum.
In patients who had the virus but had yet to develop symptoms, the saliva test was accurate in 94 percent of the cases while the conventional serum test detected only 63 percent of infections, they said.
Although researchers say the saliva test could be cheap and easy for detecting Hepatitis C infections, a larger study is needed to confirm the results.
Hepatitis C is common in the developing world, but the conventional method of detecting the virus in a blood sample is often inaccessible to poorer nations.