A New Saliva Test Promising To Help Clinicians Diagnose Autism Will Be Available In The Next Few Weeks

Detecting autism at a younger age has become the passion project of clinicians and scientists all over the world. The enigmatic condition often leaves these very people scratching their heads trying to figure out what causes it but a saliva test is promising to help clinicians diagnose autism and it might be available to use over the next few weeks.

The test detects the levels of 32 small RNA molecules in a person’s saliva which researchers say is typically found in the saliva of autistic children. This would be a huge discovery and might even help to get to an autism diagnosis at a much younger age — still, many experts in the field are skeptical of how correct the test can be because the research is still too green for clinical use.

The test, which is projected to cost close to $1,000 once it’s widely available, has received permission from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to use the test. Clarifi, which is what the test will be called once it’s on the market, is created by Quadrant Biosciences.

Clarifi isn’t intended to be the only and all-knowing source to identify autism in children. This new test is intended to be used in conjunction with other forms of screening and diagnostic tools. However, Clarifi isn’t the only test to be created in order to screen for autism. In 2018, there was a blood and urine test in development that would help detect autism in children.


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So at this point, you might be asking yourself “how would this new autism test work?” Pretty simple, actually! The idea would be for clinicians to order a test kit for any child between the ages of 18 months and six years old who scored relatively high score on their first autism screenings.

Then, the clinician uses a cotton swab to collect saliva from the child and would then return the swab with the sample the main company, Quadrant, and Quadrant would then return the probability analysis for autism, for the child. Any child whose probability score is above 50% is, more often than not, going to be diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Still, many say the accuracy of the saliva test is dependent on how the children scored in the initial screening. The M-CHAT, Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, is the initial screening test done to children to see if they are on the spectrum or not, is what can determine the accuracy of the saliva sample.

Research suggests that the younger the child, the harder it is to determine whether they have ASD or not. The M-CHAT’s accuracy increases as the child ages and goes up about 69% for kiddos older than 20 months. In Quadrant’s test, they found that their saliva test is able to pick up about 82% of autistic children and can identify about 88% of children who don’t have the condition.

This is a promising new discovery that will promise to make diagnosing and treating the condition, much easier and more effective.

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