A scientist holding a swap and a test tube. A concept image for a saliva sample.
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Could your saliva indicate if you have coeliac disease? Spanish researchers certainly think so.

Scientists from the University of the Basque Country and colleagues are working on a saliva test that they hope could be an accurate first step in diagnosing coeliac disease.

The current gold standard for coeliac disease diagnosis includes an anti-tissue transglutaminase (TTG) blood test followed by a biopsy, which is costly and invasive. Due to the accuracy of the saliva testing they conducted, the scientists are hopeful it could be used to reduce the number of unnecessary biopsies undertaken.

To test the predictive capacity of their saliva testing method, the researchers undertook a blind test with 100 saliva samples. They were able to accurately predict the outcome using the saliva test in 73 percent of cases. Furthermore, the predictive model displayed a sensitivity of 91 percent, signifying a 91 percent success rate among people with coeliac disease.

Ainara Castellanos, the study’s lead researcher, and Maialen Sebastian, a pre-doctoral student, consider that the method they have developed “is very useful for screening patients with suspected coeliac disease before endoscopy is carried out.”