Rutgers University has received FDA approval for a saliva test used to detect the novel coronavirus COVID-19, according to a press release from the university. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the saliva testing which provides an alternative to the current nose and throat swabs.
By using the test, health care workers would have a lessened risk of infection by avoiding getting in the face of someone who may have symptoms. For the new test, patients receive a plastic tube which they spit in and then hand back to the workers.
“The impact of this approval is significant,” said Andrew Brooks, chief operating officer and director of technology development at RUCDR and professor in the School of Arts and Sciences Department of Genetics at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. “It means we no longer have to put health care professionals at risk for infection by performing nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal collections.
“We can preserve precious personal protective equipment for use in patient care instead of testing. We can significantly increase the number of people tested each and every day as self-collection of saliva is more quick and scalable than swab collections. All of this combined will have a tremendous impact on testing in New Jersey and across the United States.”
The coronavirus mainly comes from animals and a majority of those who were infected early either worked at or frequently visited the Huanan seafood wholesale market in Wuhan, according to The Guardian. The virus is similar to Severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome (Mers).
The Wuhan coronavirus is transmitted from person to person through “droplet transmission.” That means an infected person can pass the virus by sneezing or coughing on another person as well as by direct contact.
While a majority of the cases have been detected in the United States and China — with more than 23,600 deaths in the United States — it has now reached many countries around the world. It has also been confirmed in Italy, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and many other eastern countries.