FDA greenlights saliva testing for COVID-19

Coronavirus

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — There is a need for diagnosing COVID-19. There is a new saliva test that is much easier to use and a lot less painful than the swab test.

“The collection is going to be rapid and easy on the people,” said Dr. Ravindra Kolhe. “Number two, processing the saliva is going to be simpler than the nasal swab.”

To determine whether someone is infected with COVID-19, the FDA is issuing an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to the Yale School of Public Health for its Saliva-Direct COVID-19 diagnostic test. The new test is expected to open the door for broader testing. Researchers at the Medical College of Georgia say the saliva test is more effective than the nasal swab test.

“The virus is located way back in the nose,” explained Dr. Kolhe. “When you’re taking the swab and not reaching in the same region, you might not get the good quality specimen.”

Dr. Kolhe is the director of the Georgia Esoteric and Molecular Laboratory at AU. The GEM Lab has tweaked its research and is waiting for approval from the FDA for its saliva diagnostic test. Dr. Kolhe told NewsChannel 6 reporter, Devin Johnson, research has shown saliva to be more efficient when detecting the virus.

“We connected all of our studies and showed the FDA the saliva is a very stable sample,” said Dr. Kolhe. “We also showed that it is stable in the container for weeks.”
This new method of testing could be vital to monitoring folks whose jobs require them to interact with crowds of people.

“There are still some people who haven’t been tested because they don’t want to do the nasal swab,” said Dr. Kolhe. “That population would be easier to capture, and do a mass screening with saliva testing.”

The GEM Lab director says if their saliva testing product is green-lighted by the FDA, saliva testing will be offered at the Medical College of Georgia.

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