What the Health: Can saliva and fluids under the gum detect Covid-19 antibodies?

6 Jul 2022

Oral fluids are non-invasive biosamples containing antibodies for assessing weakening immunity over time. Saliva and fluid under the gum (also named gingival crevicular fluid – GCF) are two common studied fluids. Saliva is a powerful non-invasive sample to reflect oral and systemic health status. GCF is a tiny amount of fluid under the gum, which is a highly concentrated serum comprising blood and gum tissues. These two mouth fluids are proven to contain the SARS-CoV-2 virus in COVID-19 patients.

New research led by Dr Pingping Han and Professor Saso Ivanovski from UQ’s School of Dentistry found COVID-19 antibodies can be detected in both unstimulated saliva and fluid under the gum for people with two doses of Pfizer mRNA vaccination. This is the first time researchers have used fluid under the gum to detect antibodies.

The research demonstrated levels of anti-COVID-19 antibodies peaked at three weeks after dose two in both saliva and fluid under the gum for all three immunoglobulin isotypes. The concentration of antibodies in the fluid under the gum  was significantly higher than in saliva at all time points.

Therefore our latest research suggests that fluid under the gum is another non-invasive biosample that can be used to detect COVID-19 antibodies.

AUTHOR: Dr Pingping Han is a postdoctoral research fellow in UQ’s School of Dentistry. Dr Han’s research is focusing on salivary diagnosis for gum disease and systemic health.