Saliva Test Savior


Krisztian Bocsi-Bloomberg

A sample of nasal-swa COVID-19 test held by one of the lab scientists

Kalea Reeves, Staff Writer

If you’ve ever had to take the coronavirus test, you know how invasive and uncomfortable it can be to have a swab stuck in the back of your nose. Luckily, that test may be no more as researchers at Yale have developed a new saliva-based diagnostic test, which is quicker, cheaper and quite a bit more comfortable.

The FDA granted emergency-use authorization to fast-track the sometimes yearlong process to get this test, called SalivaDirect, approved according to Yale News. As coronavirus cases continue to rise daily, the United States needs all the testing it can get and fast.

The new test is a much easier alternative to the nasal swabbing test, so more people can be tested faster. MD Anderson reported that while the old test could take a few days to receive results, the new one can be done in just a few hours. It also costs only $10 per sample for labs to process, a tenth of the cost of the nasal test.

The group responsible for this incredible development is none other than the National Baseball Association. The program has funded more than $500,000 for the research, and were even the guinea pigs for the later stages of testing. Before their first game, different members of the staff and the teams took the old nasal test, and others took the new saliva one. Yale compared the two diagnostic outcomes which were practically identical.

“Our players are excited to be a part of this study. It allows them to leverage their regular testing to make a larger contribution to public health in the fight against this virus,” NBA director of sports medicine, John DiFiori, said.

According to ESPN, several teams have participated in this testing, and continue to use it as part of their main safety protocol.

The new saliva test is much more focused on the public’s health, and making it quick and simple for anyone who needs one. As stated by Yale News, the NBA, although having funded a large chunk of the research, isn’t taking any royalties from the tests. The developers aren’t intending commercialization—they want it available freely to the general public so that everyone can use this efficient test to stay safe.