Peptest could prove useful during the current Covid-19 pandemic when access to clinics and more complex clinical diagnostic procedures is restricted or delayed.

Many non-essential medical procedures have been postponed or cancelled during the Covid-19 pandemic, with endoscopies down a huge 87 per cent worldwide.

According to a global survey, the coronavirus led to an 82 per cent decrease in upper endoscopy procedures and an 85 per cent decrease in lower endoscopy procedures.

In a report published in Gut – the leading international journal in gastroenterology – the Asian Pacific Society for Digestive Endoscopy recommended the deferment of all elective endoscopies until the pandemic is over. Significant backlogs are anticipated.

Peptest – a non-invasive diagnostic test for salivary pepsin – offers a simple way to screen non-emergency cases to confirm reflux and recommend lifestyle changes and treatment options.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD/ GORD) can be characterised by sharp or tender pain in the chest that mimics heart-related problems and, frequently, people can present these symptoms in a hospital’s accident & emergency department.

In a 2018 study, Peptest was used to rapidly detect pepsin in saliva in patients coming to the emergency department of Gemelli University Hospital in Rome with chest pain.

Researchers say Peptest demonstrated a high positive predictive value for the exclusion of cardiac problems in patients with a recent development of chest pain admitted to emergency departments, confirming that most of chest pains were due to gastrointestinal problems, particularly GERD.

Professor Peter Dettmar says: “Peptest is a rapid test designed to diagnose gastro-oesophageal and laryngopharyngeal reflux disease using just a saliva sample. As saliva is easily collected by the patient in their own home, it is particularly useful when access to clinics and more complex clinical procedures is restricted, such as now during the current Covid-19 pandemic.”

“Often with recommended lifestyle/dietary changes and treatment options, non-serious symptoms of reflux can be managed by patients without further intervention.”