The US Food and Drug Administration has authorized a saliva test for diagnosing Covid-19 in emergencies.
Rutgers University, where the test was developed in collaboration with other groups, announced the FDA authorization today after formally receiving it over the weekend.
What this means: Using saliva to diagnose novel coronavirus infections could expand testing capacities across the United States. So far, testing for Covid-19 has usually involved nose or throat swabs.
"It means we no longer have to put health care professionals at risk for infection by performing nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal collections," Andrew Brooks, chief operating officer and director of technology development at the university's RUCDR Infinite Biologics lab, said in a news release.
According to Rutgers University's news release, this is the first such saliva test to receive emergency use authorization from the FDA. Brooks, a professor at the university, called the impact of the authorization "significant."
Across the United States, which has faced a shortage of tests, several other laboratories have been working on developing saliva tests and other types of diagnostic testing for Covid-19.
So far during the coronavirus pandemic, the FDA has worked with more than 300 test developers who have said they plan to submit emergency use authorization requests to the agency for their diagnostic tests, the agency announced on Monday.
According to the FDA, 34 emergency-use authorizations have been issued for diagnostic tests to date.