Saliva from a person with covid-19 is infectious whether the person has symptoms or not, and the virus has a long incubation period. It’s is currently estimated up to 80% of cases are asymptomatic, therefore it is impossible to determine if samples are safe to collect and handle.
At this time we need to individually risk assess each saliva study (do the participants come from low risk areas, have low risk jobs, been in contact with positive individuals. Please contact the lab to discuss your study (01223 698143 or biomarker-lab@aru,ac,uk). Samples collected before 01/01/2020 (or 01/12/2009 for China) pose no risk,
The analysis of hair samples in not as affected by the covid-19 outbreak as we are able to leave hair at room temperature for a few days to ensure any virus is no longer active before the lab team start to process the sample. When collecting hair samples you will need follow your local rules and consider PPE, though it may also be possible for people within the participants household to collect hair for the research team. Hair samples do not need to be stored in the fridge or freezer, so can easily be posted by the participants.