FDA approves first at-home COVID-19 spit test created at Rutgers
NEW BRUNSWICK — The FDA on Thursday granted emergency approval for an at-home COVID-19 test developed by Rutgers University scientists.
The Rutgers Clinical Genomics Laboratory test, which allows people to submit their own saliva samples, will free up healthcare workers and supplies, university officials said. It will also allow people who cannot leave their home because they are too sick or in quarantine to get tested.
This is the only approved test for saliva samples. Other tests require a professional to insert a swab up people's noses or into their throats.
Gov. Phil Murphy has said that reopening the state's economy will hinge on the availability of fast and widespread tests such as these. The lab's testing capabilities will allow tens of thousands of people to be tested every day.
Andrew Brooks, chief operating officer and director of technology development at Rutgers-based RUCDR Infinite Biologics, said the test means "we no longer have to put healthcare professionals at risk for infection."
"We can now preserve precious [personal protective equipment] for use in patient care instead of testing and can significantly increase the number of people collected each and every day in places other than a healthcare setting," he said.
Brooks said at-home testing will have far-reaching benefits for public health because it reduces the risk of people spreading the virus by traveling to a testing facility.
“And importantly, this new approval will help the Rutgers community directly by allowing for convenient and precision testing of faculty, students and staff when the time comes for Rutgers to reopen the campus," he added.
Meanwhile, Murphy said Friday that the federal government has allowed the state to offer testing to people who are not showing COVID-19 symptoms. These asymptomatic people will be able to get tested at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel and Bergen County Community College in Paramus.
The recently expanded list of COVID-19 symptoms are cough, difficulty breathing, fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, headache, sore throat, muscle pain and loss of taste or smell.
A full list of testing sites is available on the state's COVID-19 website.
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Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.