SalivaDirect, a saliva-based test for covid-19 from the Yale School of Public Health, could be a game changer for coronavirus testing in the United Sates, according to a report in The Washington Post. The test, which recently received FDA emergency use authorization, does not require swabs or chemical reagents, and it costs less than $10 per test to run.
As the United States grapples with building testing capacity to meet the growing demand brought on by people resuming school and work, officials have placed their hopes on several solutions including saliva testing. Since the test doesn’t require chemical reagents or swabs that have become scarce during the pandemic and offers a faster turnaround than the standard test, some believe it could offer the country a way to determine the spread of the virus quickly. While SalivaDirect isn’t the first saliva test to get the green light from the FDA, its efficiency could improve the bevy of tests coming to market. According to Yale, its approach goes beyond what the four previously approved saliva tests could, allowing labs to skirt supply chain concerns for reagents by validating multiple vendors. The research team is already working with other labs to get more tests authorized, Chantal Vogels, a Yale postdoctoral fellow who led the laboratory development and validation of the test, told The Washington Post. “Our mission is to remove capitalism from surveillance,” the Yale team’s lead researcher, Nathan Grubaugh, tweeted Tuesday. “We want to make available cheaper tests, and we believe that companies shouldn’t overly profit from this. That is why we offer our protocol for free, and we are working with labs to implement cost and time saving steps.”
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