The test has already been in use by the NBA for asymptomatic players and staff.

A new saliva-based coronavirus test has just been approved for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The test was developed by the Yale School of Public Health and does not require anything more than saliva and a sterile container. Eliminating the need for nasal swabs, just one of several components that have been in short supply during the pandemic, the SalivaDirect tests could help revolutionize the speed and availability of coronavirus testing in the U.S. and the world.

Researchers at the Yale School of Public Health began working the on the test last spring after COVID-19 was identified in saliva. The team set out to create a test that would be affordable and faster than traditional methods. The SalivaDirect test has been tested with the same processes used in traditional coronavirus testing and found to be just as reliable.

“Wide-spread testing is critical for our control efforts. We simplified the test so that it only costs a couple of dollars for reagents, and we expect that labs will only charge about $10 per sample,” said Nathan Grubaugh, assistant professor at Yale School of Public Health. “If cheap alternatives like SalivaDirect can be implemented across the country, we may finally get a handle on this pandemic, even before a vaccine.”

lab test

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

The test can be self-administered by patients, reducing the chance healthcare workers are exposed to the virus. Labs can also use existing reagents to process the SalivaDirect samples. Yale researchers are partnering with the Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine in Farmington, Connecticut, to get the test into more hospitals and heatlhcare settings. Grants and donations from the NBA, National Basketball Players Association, and George Mason University helped fund the study that created SalivaDirect.