New COVID-19 Test Collection Method Available

New COVID-19 Test Collection Method Available

The University is piloting a new PCR collection method that’s more comfortable for test takers: PCR - saline gargle (SG). 

How does the SG test work?

You are provided a saline (saltwater) solution to swish and gargle in your mouth and throat for 45 seconds. You then spit the saline into a tube, which is transported to an on-campus lab and tested. Read more about the SG test in this UA News story and view a detailed how-to video.

Here’s how to participate:

Know before you go!

For 30 minutes before your saline gargle test do not:

  • Eat
  • Drink
  • Use mouthwash
  • Brush your teeth
  • Chew gum
  • Smoke or vape

Testing Fast Facts:

  • PCR test results (NP and SG) are usually available by the next day. Antigen test results are available within 2 hours.
  • The PCR-SG test is more sensitive than the traditional saliva test and the antigen test.
  • Compared to the traditional saliva test, the SG collection method is ideal for the extremely dry climate typical of southern Arizona, which makes it difficult for some people to stay properly hydrated and produce the necessary amount of saliva needed for a spit test. 


  • Read the general Testing FAQs.
  • If you have questions about SG testing, please feel free to ask at the site or contact the COVID-19 Testing Call Center, 520-848-4030 or Your comments, questions, and feedback are appreciated.