Melbourne launches new COVID-19 test amid fears of second wave

A new world-first coronavirus test will be rolled out across Melbourne’s priority suburbs amid fears a second wave of the virus will hit the state.

The saliva test, developed by scientists at Victoria’s Doherty Institute, will replace the traditional nasal swab, with an army of health crews going door-to-door with the new testing equipment today.

Premier Daniel Andrews announced last week Keilor Downs, Albanvale, Sunshine West, Maidstone, Hallam and Broadmeadows were known hot spots.

Brunswick West, Fawkner, Reservoir and Pakenham completed the top 10 list.

Royal Melbourne Hospital department of clinical microbiology Professor Deborah Williamson said the new test was a non-invasive alternative to COVID-19 testing.

“This novel diagnostic approach has been trialled in our laboratory and in labs around the world, and our work suggests this approach may be an alternative to swab testing in some settings,” she said.

“The Doherty Institute public health laboratories are pleased to work with the Victorian Government and other laboratories to assess the feasibility, acceptability and scalability of saliva testing in the community.”

Melburnians living outside the city’s hot spots can expect to receive traditional nasal swabs when being tested for coronavirus.

It follows the State Government’s stern warning yesterday suburban lockdowns were on the table as experts analyse new COVID-19 data later today.

Victoria recorded 49 new cases yesterday, an increase of eight on Saturday’s figures and the highest daily total since April 2.

Four of the new cases were linked to known outbreaks, with the source of infection still under investigation in the remaining 45.

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