COVID-19 saliva test offers fast answers at a price

Forget driving to a COVID-19 testing site or waiting in line for a deep nasal swab.

Vault Health is one of a handful of companies now offering a diagnostic test for COVID-19 you can do at home, simply by collecting a sample of your saliva.

The company requires a Zoom consultation with a trained representative, to ensure the collection process is correct.

As a FOX Medical Team reporter, I decided to give the test a try.

Vault Health's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Alex Pastuszak guided me through the process on Zoom, acting as my saliva collection "coach."

"You'll see a little black wavy line on that tube, and that's the fill line," Pastuszak explained, as I held up the collection tube.

He explained their saliva test looks for specific genetic sequences in our spit that are only found with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

"Essentially, it's the stuff that makes the virus tick," Dr. Pastuszak says.  "So, if we see a signal from that, it means it's coming from the virus.  That's how we tell you, 'You have the virus, you're shedding virus, and you're infected.'"

That is something you may need to know if you have a flight to catch, or you're a manager trying to decide which employees are safe to come to work.

Vault Health says it can get you test results back in 2 to 3 days.

"If you want one test that you do one time, then this is probably the best test to do," Pastuszak says.  "The reasons for that are the sensitivity and specificity; they're 95% to 96%.  The false positive and false negative results are also very low, about 1%, for this test, specifically."

Vault CEO Jason Feldman says if a test tells you you're negative, you need to know you really are.

"Because, in fact, if you're really positive, and that test didn't give you a good result, you're going to go out and be part of the problem," Feldman says.  "You're going to go out and end up spreading virus."

Pastuszak guided this reporter through how to collect my saliva, step by step.

To fill the collection vial, you need about 2 milliliters of spit, or about a teaspoon full.

He says the process usually takes anywhere from 3 to 4 minutes.

It is awkward to spit into a tube in front of a stranger.

But, after about 4 minutes, I am done.

"The average person takes exactly as long as you did," Pastuszak says.  "Now, there are certainly outliers. Some people can fill that up in 30 seconds, and we've had people on the line for an hour and a half.

Once I've collected my sample, I drive it to my local UPS store, where it's overnighted to Infinity BiologiX in New Jersey.

Pastuszak says it takes about 12 hours to test the sample, once my test kit is opened.

And 36 hours later, I get an email with my test results.

I'm negative.

The test was much easier than a deep nasal swab test I took 2 weeks earlier in order to volunteer with a local rescue.

You pay for the convenience and the quick turnaround. 

The Vault Health test kits are about $150 for individuals, and companies buying in bulk pay a lower, negotiated charge.

To read more about the at-home saliva test, visit