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HomeLifestyleHealthLollipops may help in diagnostic procedures for both children, adults: Study |...

Lollipops may help in diagnostic procedures for both children, adults: Study | Health

A lollipop may be a tasty reward for a child who has survived a trip to the doctor’s office, but this sweet treat may now make diagnostic testing during a visit less intrusive and more joyful.

Lollipops may help in diagnostic procedures for both children, adults: Study(Unsplash)
Lollipops may help in diagnostic procedures for both children, adults: Study(Unsplash)

For the first time, researchers who had their findings published in ACS’ Analytical Chemistry have demonstrated that a lollipop-based saliva collection system can capture bacteria from adults and remain shelf-stable for up to a year. Participants in the study also preferred candies over traditional collecting methods.

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Throat swabs are commonly used to collect samples for the diagnosis of a wide variety of illnesses, including strep throat. A less-gag-inducing method is saliva sampling, in which technicians analyze a patient’s spit with methods such as quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR).

Because this type of sample can be collected directly by a patient, the technique is popular for at-home testing and saw expanded use during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gathering the necessary amount of saliva can be somewhat gross, though, which is why some scientists are looking to make the process more enjoyable by combining it with the equally drool-filled, yet much more pleasant, experience of enjoying a lollipop.

Previously, Sanitta Thongpang, Ashleigh Theberge, Erwin Berthier and colleagues developed their own lollipop collection device dubbed CandyCollect. At first glance, CandyCollect looks like most lollipops, except for its spoon-like stick with a spiral-shaped groove carved into the top.

This flattened end is covered with isomalt candy, allowing for saliva to easily flow into the groove as the lollipop is eaten. In a past study, the researchers showed in lab tests that the device could capture the bacteria responsible for strep throat.

Now, they wanted to target other, naturally occurring bacteria and see how their system compared to other commercially available, at-home saliva sampling methods with real people.

Researchers sent CandyCollect and two conventional saliva sampling kits to 28 adult volunteers, who used them, answered some survey questions, and then shipped the devices back to the lab. The researchers eluted the samples and then quantified Streptococcus mutans and Staphylococcus aureus bacteria using qPCR.

Whenever one or both of the conventional methods detected the target bacteria, CandyCollect also detected them 100 per cent of the time. Additionally, the candies were the most popular method of the three among participants, who also agreed it was the “most sanitary” and “least disgusting.”

The devices still produced accurate results after being stored for a year. Although the studies are still ongoing, the team says that this work shows that the system is adaptable and well-liked. The researchers say it could inspire other scientists to develop more intuitive and convenient at-home testing methods. (ANI)

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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