Rutgers University’s RUCDR Infinite Biologics has received emergency use authorization (EUA) for its new saliva collection method for COVID-19 screening. It is the first such approval for a method that uses saliva as the primary test biomaterial for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which is an alternative to the current method of swabbing the nose and throat. RUCDR, part of Rutgers’ Human Genetics Institute of New Jersey, developed the approach with Salt Lake City-based Spectrum Solutions and New Jersey-based Accurate Diagnostic Labs.
“The impact of this approval is significant,” said Andrew Brooks, chief operating officer and director of technology development at RUCDR in a university news release. “It means we no longer have to put health care professionals at risk for infection by performing nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal collections. We can preserve precious personal protective equipment for use in patient care instead of testing. We can significantly increase the number of people tested each and every day as self-collection of saliva is more quick and scalable than swab collections. All of this combined will have a tremendous impact on testing in New Jersey and across the United States.”
The saliva test will also aid in the global shortage of swab sampling for patients, and will help quarantined patients learn when they are no longer infectious, enabling healthcare professionals to safety return to the frontlines, according to Brooks, who is also a professor in the School of Arts and Sciences Department of Genetics at Rutgers University–New Brunswick.
Beginning on April 15, the test will be available at a drive-thru coronavirus testing facility in Edison, NJ. The test is also available through certain hospital systems in New Jersey, which has the second highest number of COVID-19 cases in the United States.