Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Some at-home tests may miss Omicron in early stages of infection

(HealthDay)—The Abbott BinaxNOW and Quidel QuickVue—two widely used rapid at-home COVID tests—may sometimes fail to spot evidence of the Omicron variant in the first days after infection, even when people are carrying ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

COVID-19 testing kits also can measure oral microbiome in saliva

COVID-19 saliva testing kits that include a novel preservative can also be used measure microscopic organisms in the mouth, a Rutgers study has found. This enables study of the relationship between mouth and lung microbes ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Novel Lyme vaccine shows promise

Yale University researchers have developed a novel vaccine that in guinea pigs offers protection against infection by the bacterium that causes Lyme disease and may also combat other tick-borne diseases, they report Nov. ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Rapid COVID-19 tests using saliva could be easier alternatives

The most common tests for COVID-19 are PCR tests, involving a nose and throat sample taken with a cotton swab. The procedure is often unpleasant, and the tests results require laboratory analysis. In a new study from Lund ...

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Saliva

Saliva (also referred to as spit , spittle or slobber) is the watery and usually frothy substance produced in the mouths of humans and most other animals. Saliva is produced in and secreted from the salivary glands. Human saliva is composed mostly of water, but also includes electrolytes, mucus, antibacterial compounds, and various enzymes. As part of the initial process of food digestion, the enzymes in the saliva break down some of the starch and fat in the food at the molecular level. Saliva also breaks down food caught in the teeth, protecting them from bacteria that cause decay. Furthermore, saliva lubricates and protects the teeth, the tongue, and the tender tissues inside the mouth. Saliva also plays an important role in tasting food by trapping thiols produced from odourless food compounds by anaerobic bacteria living in the mouth.

Various species have evolved special uses for saliva that go beyond predigestion. Some swifts use their gummy saliva to build their nests. Some Aerodramus swiftlet nests are made only from saliva and used to make bird's nest soup. Cobras, vipers, and certain other members of the venom clade hunt with venomous saliva injected by fangs. Some arthropods, such as spiders and caterpillars, create thread from salivary glands.

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