NBA helps bring faster, easier coronavirus tests to market

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The Food and Drug Administration has cleared the use of a faster and easier test for the coronavirus. The SalivaDirect test was developed for people who do not have symptoms of COVID. It is believed to be about 90% as accurate as other tests using nose and throat swabs.The developers expect that up to 200,000 samples per day can be processed.

And help bring the test to market? The National Basketball Association.

Before checking into their isolated Orlando bubble with their daily COVID tests, some NBA players and staff volunteered to donate saliva samples with their standard nose and throat swabs.

When the NBA saliva samples were analyzed in Nathan Grubaugh’s Yale University lab, his team found the results stacked up to standard swab tests.

The SalivaDrect coronavirus test uses a saliva sample rather than throat or nasal swabs. CBS News

“I think anyone would rather just spit into a tube rather than have the tampon that really goes deep into your nasal passage,” Grubaugh told CBS News senior medical correspondent Dr. Tara Narula.

First used on healthcare workers and inpatients, SalivaDirect does not rely on special equipment or supplies such as reagents, so many labs will be able to process samples and get results quickly.

Grubaugh said, “This is designed so that you receive your results within 24 hours. If you are doing routine monitoring and screening and you don’t get your results within a day, it is almost pointless to do so. ”

Dr Narula told “CBS This Morning” that while the test is not intended for patients in hospitals but for asymptomatic people, the SalivaDirect tests could be of benefit for people returning to work or school, healthcare workers and nursing homes. “They can really screen or do routine surveillance on people by checking them every day or several times a week,” she says.

Each test would cost around $ 10.

Co-host Tony Dokoupil asked Dr Narula: “We know the national testing chart is always behind on what experts say we need to do to control or suppress the virus. Could this saliva test change that dynamic? ”

“The beauty of this test is that it’s inexpensive, it’s quick, it’s significantly more comfortable, it saves PPE,” she replied. “The idea is that it could potentially increase testing capacity by around 100,000 to 200,000 tests per day.

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