Spit, then celebrate: Jerusalem firm launches world’s 1st saliva pregnancy test

Innovators take the very same tech they invented for coronavirus tests and use it to create a device that tells women whether they’re expecting

Nathan Jeffay is The Times of Israel's health and science correspondent

Portrait of a pregnant woman, on May 26 2011. (Yossi Zamir/Flash 90)
Portrait of a pregnant woman, on May 26 2011. (Yossi Zamir/Flash 90)

An Israeli company is launching the world’s first pregnancy test that delivers results from saliva samples, using technology it developed for COVID-19 tests.

Salignostics, a Jerusalem-based medical startup, was working on a saliva pregnancy test before the pandemic. It then developed saliva coronavirus tests and suddenly had most of the missing technology it needed, allowing it to quickly move forward on the pregnancy test.

The company announced Thursday that it will start to commercialize its SaliStick test early next year, which has 95 percent sensitivity when women use it after they have missed a period.

The company has successfully completed clinical trials in Israel on more than 300 women — both pregnant and non-pregnant — and has begun the approval process with America’s Food and Drug Administration and for the European Union’s CE Mark.

“While we’ve been looking for a few years into the application of saliva pregnancy tests, once COVID came along and we had an opportunity to use saliva to to detect the virus, there was of course a more urgent need to invest in this technology,” Dr. Guy Krief, co-founder and deputy CEO at Salignostics, told The Times of Israel.

“It is deeply encouraging that technology that was honed and developed to help us deal with the one of the worst pandemics is able to be developed further to help contribute to help and wellness for women and families all over the world.”

The Salignostics saliva pregnancy test. (Courtesy: Salignostics)

The Salignostics coronavirus test is European Union-approved, and has sold widely in Europe and Africa.

“Saliva is the key to rapid diagnostics for a variety of medical uses,” said Kries. “With SaliStick, we are leveraging the powerful diagnostics abilities we have been able to create from analyzing saliva.”

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