Researchers from the Yale School of Public Health created the SalivaDirect test, which received emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration on Saturday.
“The SalivaDirect test for rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2 [the novel coronavirus] is yet another testing innovation game changer that will reduce the demand for scarce testing resources,” said Adm. Brett Giroir, the US official in charge of Covid-19 testing efforts.
“We simplified the test so that it only costs a couple of dollars for reagents, and we expect that labs will only charge about $10 per sample,” said Nathan Grubaugh, a Yale assistant professor of epidemiology.
“If cheap alternatives like SalivaDirect can be implemented across the country, we may finally get a handle on this pandemic, even before a vaccine.”
The NBA was among the groups that funded research for the test and currently uses the method to test for non-symptomatic carriers of the virus.
Testing declines in many states
While testing has gone down in 17 states, test positivity rates have increased in 34 states, according to the Covid Tracking Project. That means a higher percentage of tests being performed are turning out to be positive.
“Testing has also fallen by about 20% to 30%, and so the picture is a little bit muddy,” he said.
What’s clearer is America’s disturbing trend of topping 1,000 Covid-19 deaths a day.
Through Saturday, the US has suffered more than 1,000 new deaths a day for 16 of the past 20 days, according to data from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.
Jha said he’s hopeful the rate of deaths will go down.
“But even if it comes down to 800 deaths a day, that’s 24,000 Americans dying every month,” he said.