Gov. Phil Murphy is hopeful that a quick saliva test developed by Rutgers University will be key to reopening the state because it will allow at least 10,000 people to be tested every day starting next week.

Unlike other tests in use, the one developed by university researchers can use saliva rather than a swab that has to be uncomfortably inserted up a person's nose. The test produces results in 24 hours rather than in several days. The test is also more accurate than others in use, according to Brian Strom, the chancellor of the Rutgers University Biomedical and Health Sciences Department.

The test will be rolled out significantly next week at five state developmental centers housing people with serious disabilities. It's already in use at drive-thru testing sites in Edison, South Brunswick, the American Dream mall, Franklin in Somerset County, Deptford and Newark.

Strom said "with new equipment, which isn’t all that expensive we could double it" to be able to test another 10,000 people a day.

He said the equipment is “gettable” so the biggest limiting factor would be the technicians needed to operate the system, but he suggested that would not be a big obstacle.

Murphy said as plans are developed to begin to re-open the state economy, this is a very significant development.

“And if things continue to go well, Rutgers alone can be the source of a lot of our salvation in terms of the testing we’re going to need to have the confidence to re-open.”

Strom noted another test has been developed that can give test results in about 40 minutes and efforts are underway to also expand the use of that test.

He noted fast results are especially important in situations involving health care workers who need to know right way if they or a patient is COVID-19 positive.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at

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