Members of the Waterloo community are invited to participate in the Waterloo Centre for Microbial Research COVID-19 Asymptomatic Saliva Testing Research at Waterloo (ASTRAW) study. This research initiative led by Dr. Trevor Charles and Dr. Jozef Nissimov will aim to determine if frequent saliva-based COVID-19 testing is a feasible method for prevention of COVID-19 community and workforce spread, and to monitor the prevalence of other viruses on campus.

Please continue to provide samples even if you have been vaccinated as infections are still possible following vaccination and information about new strains that may infect vaccinated individuals will be very important.

We do not yet know how sensitive this test is and whether it is as good or better than the conventional nasopharyngeal swab and laboratory test performed at an approved provincial testing site. Thus, participation in this study is not a substitution for monitoring your health, staying home from work and getting tested at a provincial testing site (if eligible) if you are experiencing any signs or symptoms of COVID-19.

Please continue to follow the University of Waterloo’s COVID-19 guidance if you are experiencing symptoms, or have tested positive through this study or a rapid antigen test.

University of Waterloo - Coronavirus Health and Safety

Below is a link for a webpage from the Government of Canada listing symptoms of COVID-19 infection.  

To participate

To participate in this study, first read about how to begin participation and see if you are eligible.

If you are eligible to participate, please, review the information letter, sign into our portal, and complete the informed consent questionnaire.


In this study confidentiality and privacy is of the utmost importance. Participating in the study or forgoing participation will remain confidential, in addition any potential positive results will remain confidential and be communicated to ONLY the volunteer at their preferred email address. Supervisors and employers will NOT be contacted regarding their employees’ results from this study. COVID-19-positive individuals will be notified within 24-48 hours and will be encouraged to get tested via the Health Canada approved qPCR test, if eligible, and to follow all University of Waterloo protocols. Participants testing positive for any other virus will not be notified of the results at an individual level, these tests will be for larger trend monitoring only since they are not diagnostic.


Volunteers interested in participating in this study must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Must be 18 years of age or older
  • Must drop off 2 samples per week
  • Must be able to refrain from brushing teeth, eating, and drinking for at least 1 hour before providing the sample. Drinking water is permitted, but not within 10 minutes of sample collection.
  • Must be able to check their personal email at least once per day

If you believe you are able to meet the above criteria and interested in participating in this study, please continue on to our participant registration. If you have any further questions please feel free to communicate with the study team following information available on our contact page.

On behalf of Dr. Trevor Charles and Dr. Jozef Nissimov and the participating faculty and staff we thank-you for your time and your consideration.

Study documents

Information letter

How to provide a saliva sample



Dr. Trevor Charles




Dr. Jozef Nissimov



Dr. Carly Huitema

Dr. Patricia Dörr de Quadros

Jennifer Knapp

Phone: 519-888-4567 x40570




University of Waterloo

200 University Ave W

Waterloo Centre for Microbial Research

Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1

Tel: 905-525-9140 x21551