Rutgers University develops easier COVID-19 saliva test

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Health care worker with facemask

New test may allow individuals to do their own saliva test

The US Food and Drug Administration has issued an emergency use authorization for the first at-home COVID-19 test that uses saliva samples. Rutgers University’s Infinite Biologics lab received the authorization. With this test, people can collect their own saliva at home and send their saliva samples to a lab for results. Testing for COVID-19 so far has involved nose or throat swab samples.

New Jersey will be able to test many thousands of residents a day

“We have been in contact for some time with Dr. Brian Strom of Rutgers University and the White House who notified us this weekend of the FDA approval for the Rutgers-developed test,” said New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.” Residents and staff at each of the four State developmental centers for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities were the first to receive the testing.

Not only does the saliva test have the ability to do more testing on a wider scale than the initial COVID-19 test, but it would also allow New Jersey to triple its daily testing abilities. New Jersey will be able to test many thousands of residents a day. During a press conference in Trenton, Murphy said: “Rapid return testing, contact tracing and then a plan for isolation and/or quarantine—those are the essential elements of the infrastructure that we’re going to need before you have the confidence—and we can tell you we’ve got the confidence to begin, to reopen our state.”

“My main feelings are in the concern of the citizens of New Jersey and the country,” said Tanaya Marshall, a resident of Ewing. “During this pandemic, safety and efficiency come first. I’m excited that Rutgers and Dr. Strom’s team developed the test because Rutgers is in our backyard. I have a strong sense of Jersey Pride.”

Healthcare workers at testing sites have been administering nasal swabs at close contact with patients. This has increased their likelihood of contracting the virus.

First responders that will be administering the tests can be six feet away by simply handing the test to the patient and backing away. Those going to a drive-thru testing center would only have to roll their window down to receive the test, spit inside, and then hand it back. Stephen Fanning, the President of Utah’s Spectrum Solutions—one of the firms that worked on the saliva test said, “The amount of safety is increased significantly.”

The saliva tests in Middlesex County are available by appointment only to county residents. Test developers say it could be used across the nation and possibly the world soon.