How to conduct an at-home COVID-19 saliva test

Thursday, July 16, 2020. Author Alex Auld

COVID-19 saliva testing kit

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, national governments have employed widespread testing to track the spread of the virus and reduce the rate of infection. However, to manage resources, government-funded testing has often been limited to frontline workers or those displaying symptoms. 

While prioritising these individuals is widely understood and supported, this testing strategy excludes anyone who may be asymptomatic and unwittingly spreading the virus. The risk of asymptomatic transmission also increases as people return to work and socialise more, as we have seen in recent weeks as lockdown measures are gradually eased. 

Now, through providers including FitnessGenes, this risk can be managed with fast, convenient and accurate at-home COVID-19 saliva testing.


Saliva vs. swab testing

To date, the UK government’s testing strategy has largely focussed on antigen testing, which currently involves inserting a nasopharyngeal swab deep into the nose and throat. The nasal secretions are then tested for genetic material (called RNA) that is specific to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The insertion of a nasopharyngeal swab is an invasive procedure: it often requires the assistance of a trained healthcare professional and is reportedly uncomfortable for the person being tested. 

The FitnessGenes COVID-19 test instead relies on a saliva sample, with individuals spitting into a test tube, rather than using the invasive swab technique.

The two principal advantages of a saliva test include:

  • it can be performed at home, without the need for a trained healthcare professional
  • it avoids the discomfort of a nasopharyngeal swab

Furthermore, when compared to nasopharyngeal swab testing, studies suggest that saliva tests have a comparable (if not superior) sensitivity for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. 


The saliva testing process

The full process of conducting an at-home FitnessGenes COVID-19 saliva test is:

1) Order your COVID-19 test kit from Your test kit will be shipped to your preferred address by First Class post, arriving within 1-2 days. 

2) Register your test kit at

3) Provide your saliva sample by following the instructions enclosed.

4) Return your sample using the kit’s prepaid return label. 


You will receive an SMS message to confirm:

a) receipt of your sample at our laboratory.

b) your positive or negative COVID-19 result.


How long does the process take?

You will receive your COVID-19 result within 36 hours of your sample being received by our laboratory.

For those who require an urgent result, we recommend returning your sample by overnight delivery as the prepaid return may take 2-3 days to arrive at our laboratory.


Will the test tell me if I've previously had COVID-19?

No, the FitnessGenes COVID-19 test will only tell you whether you are currently carrying the virus. It is an antigen test, not an antibody test. 

Even if you have previously contracted the virus, it is not currently understood whether you are still at risk of reinfection or spreading the virus to others. The science behind this remains unclear.


What should I do if I test positive for COVID-19?

If you do receive a positive COVID-19 result, you are advised to follow the NHS guidance and self-isolate at home.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g. new onset cough, high temperature, loss of taste or smell), you should self-isolate for 7 days from when your symptoms began. If you do not have symptoms, you should self-isolate for 7 days from when you provided your saliva sample. 

Anyone else living in your household or included within your support bubble should also self-isolate for 14 days from when you start self-isolating.  

If you develop severe symptoms, feel breathless or cannot cope at home, you are advised to use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service or call 111. For the latest NHS information and advice about COVID-19, please visit


Order your at-home COVID-19 saliva test

To order your personal COVID-19 test kit or request a bulk purchase quote for your business, please visit

Due to the time-sensitive nature of COVID-19 testing, this service is currently only available in the UK.



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