The saliva tests were developed by researchers at ULiège for a mass-screening campaign the university launched just days after the start of the new academic year.
The university’s saliva tests consist of individual testing kits that allow users to collect a sample of their own saliva in a receptacle which is then shipped to the central laboratories for standard PCR analysis.
While the saliva-based testing is less sensitive than nose or throat swabs the university said that the regular nature of the screening would allow officials to draw consistent results from the tests.
All 602 nursing homes in the southern Belgian region, which was heavily impacted by the second wave of the pandemic, took part on day one of the mass screening scheme on Friday.
The move by Wallonia comes after Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke announced that millions of rapid tests ordered by the federal government will not be going to nursing homes since the consequences in case of a false result were too big.