Health officials are hopeful that a new saliva test could give Americans a fast and inexpensive way to learn if they have Covid-19 and help to prevent increasing spread.
The SalivaDirect test, from researchers at the Yale School of Public Health, received emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration on Saturday.
"If cheap alternatives like SalivaDirect can be implemented across the country, we may finally get a handle on this pandemic, even before a vaccine," said Nathan Grubaugh, a Yale assistant professor of epidemiology.
The test comes as frustration grows over testing delays and shortages. Seventeen states are performing fewer tests this past week compared with the previous week, according to the Covid Tracking Project.
But while testing has gone down in those states, test positivity rates have increased in 34 states.
The test positivity rate is the percentage of tests being performed that come back positive for the virus. It is one of the metrics experts encourage officials to monitor when making reopening decisions.
Part of Illinois will be under new guidelines after three days in a row with a test positivity rate of 8% or higher, according to a news release from Gov. J.B. Pritzker.