COVID-19 saliva testing
ASU no longer offers COVID-19 testing to the public, but we continue to provide fast, convenient testing for ASU students, staff, faculty and their dependents.
General public saliva testing
Anyone can register for a test via the AZ Department of Health with the agency code: SALIVATEST.
Devil’s drop-off COVID-19 testing
ASU’s free, easy drop-off COVID-19 testing for all students, faculty, staff and dependents.
ASU affiliate saliva testing
ASU Affiliate employees can register for an appointment via the ASU testing lab.
There are many Arizona Department of Health Services testing sites throughout the state.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, everyone receiving a test must register for an appointment and create their own account on the ASU testing portal. Everyone must have their own email address and phone number.
Children 5 years and older may be tested. For children under 5, we recommend you contact your pediatrician for other options. Everyone receiving a test must have their own account on the ASU testing portal using a separate email address and phone number. If you are trying to use your own email and you have already created an account for yourself, the portal will not allow you to use the same email on a different account.
If you are trying to use your own email and you have already created an account for yourself, the portal will not allow you to use the same email on a different account. Please create a new and unique email address for each child. You can use the same phone number for each child when creating their account. Tip: With a Gmail email address, one email address can be used to create multiple testing accounts. All you need to do is add “+name” to the end of the Gmail address. Example: Use your existing Gmail address [email protected] Add [email protected] A unique email address has now been created and all emails will be forwarded to your master Gmail address.
A text or email will arrive instructing you to check your ASU portal account, when your results are ready. Once you log in using your email and password, click on Lab Results in the main menu to see your results.
Do not eat, drink (even water), smoke, vape, chew gum or tobacco or take medication for at least 30 minutes before your test.
ASU’s saliva test is a federally approved qPCR (molecular) diagnostic test. If you need documentation to show that your test results came from a PCR test in a CLIA-certified lab, you can request it by emailing [email protected].
Saliva testing requires an approximately 2 milliliter sample of clear saliva. To achieve this, participants cannot chew gum, use tobacco products or have anything to eat or drink — even water — for 30 minutes prior to submitting a sample. The sample is analyzed using a laboratory technique called quantitative polymerase chain reaction, which searches for trace amounts of the coronavirus.
You should not attempt to collect your sample while driving. There is available space to pause or pull over to the side and park so that you have time to collect your sample safely.
One of the major advantages of ASU’s saliva testing is the use of a robotic system to automatically test large batches of samples. This allows us to return your results faster than many other testing labs. In order for this system to work, all samples must be about the same volume.
How saliva testing works
The test requires spitting into a straw and the saliva collects in a tube. Watch a video of the testing experience.
In order to take a sample of saliva for COVID-19 testing, we are going to use a straw to funnel spit into a sample vial. With these sample vials, we’re going to gently unscrew the cap and place the cap aside with the inside portion facing upwards on a flat surface where the cap will not roll away. Then, we will open the straw, take the straw out, insert one side of the straw into the sample vial, and then we will work up saliva in our mouth, and use the straw to deliver saliva into the sample vial.
Now, the important note here is that saliva tends to be very bubbly. You can see there’s a lot of foam here as I’m putting the saliva sample in. What we need is the liquidity portion. The foam doesn’t count towards that saliva sample. If you need to, you can take the straw and gently wiggle it around to help pop some of the foam. It’s not going to do a whole lot, but it will help to decrease the amount of foam at the top just a little bit.
Now, when you’re done, you want to gently pull the straw away and make sure that you’re not dripping saliva on the outside of the tube and dispose of the straw in a proper trashcan. Have to hold on to that in your car. Please do not throw that on the side of the road. We don’t want to be litterbugs. Now, we will take the cap and just put the cap on top and gently screw it in until it feels nice and snug. No need to use all of your strength. Just finger tight is solid, makes a good seal.
The sample is ready to hand over to the sample site personnel and be sent off to the testing team for analysis
If you have trouble generating enough saliva for your test, watch this video. Research studies suggest that the mouthwatering sensation can be aided by simply seeing salty and sweet foods. It’s best to wait until your test time so the visuals don’t lose their effect on your salivation response.
A dose of facts
Get answers to your COVID-19 questions and see our vaccine infographic.