FDA approves more comfortable, cheaper SalivaDirect test for COVID-19

Reporter: Gail Levy
Published: Updated:
SalivaDirect test for COVID-19 approved by FDA. (WINK News)

A new FDA approved test for COVID-19 is a lot more comfortable and only costs $10. You spit directly into a tube instead of the much more uncomfortable test that involves going up your nose.

Quick, safe and effective — that’s what the maker of this new saliva test promises with an emphasis on “safe” for the people giving the test.

“The need for this is absolutely critical,” says Ranga Sampath, chief scientific officer for the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics.

Developed at Yale, scientists call this method SalivaDirect. Gone are the probing swabs up the nostril.

“This particular one is particularly interesting because it’s actually spitting directly into a tube,” Sampath said. “Now it’s easy to collect the sample, there is no bottleneck in terms of a lack of swabs, trained personnel to collect the swabs and so on.”

Yale tested its SalivaDirect on NBA players living in the Orlando bubble. Now, the FDA is giving it emergency approval.

The cost to the patient is about $10 and the turnaround time depends on the lab, it could still be days, but the goal is hours.

“Ideally, you should be able to get the results in four to six hours or overnight, but the reason you’re not getting them is because of human backlog,” Sampath said. “Trying to speed that up is very critical.”

The scientists at Yale who came up with this saliva test say so far, the results have proven to be 88% to 94% effective.

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