The FDA issued an emergency use authorization for a saliva-based coronavirus test that has been used to identify COVID-19 cases by NBA players. Leading officials are calling the test a “game-changer.”
The SalivaDirect test is said to be both rapid in its findings and inexpensive. Yale said it doesn’t hope to commercialize the test, rather increase the country’s testing capabilities.
“Widespread 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. If cheap alternatives like SalivaDirect can be implemented across the country, we may finally get a handle on this pandemic, even before a vaccine,” said Nathan Grubaugh, a scientist with Yale Public Health.
Yale scientists say that the samples are less invasive than swabbing, but are equally as accurate.
“This is a huge step forward to make testing more accessible,” said Chantal Vogels, a Yale postdoctoral fellow. “This started off as an idea in our lab soon after we found saliva to be a promising sample type of the detection of SARS-CoV-2, and now it has the potential to be used on a large scale to help protect public health. We are delighted to make this contribution to the fight against coronavirus.”
The test earned praise from members of the White House coronavirus task force.
“The SalivaDirect test for rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2 is yet another testing innovation game-changer that will reduce the demand for scarce testing resources,” said Assistant Secretary for Health and COVID-19 Testing Coordinator Admiral Brett P. Giroir, M.D. “Our current national expansion of COVID-19 testing is only possible because of FDA’s technical expertise and reduction of regulatory barriers, coupled with the private sector’s ability to innovate and their high motivation to answer complex challenges posed by this pandemic.”