FDA approves a cheaper, faster COVID-19 test on saliva; $10 cost to patients

By Larry Johnson

The federal Food and Drug Administration has approved a new, simpler, cheaper test for COVID-19.

Not only does this prove that some federal employees are at work while President Donald Trump golfs and tweets, it’s welcome news on its own.

The new test, known as SalivaDirect, could replace the highly-invasive nasal swab testing now being done, which one of my friends described this way: “It goes so deep that it feels like it hits your brain, and then goes a couple more inches.”

The test should cost patients only about $10, and results could be available in only a few hours, FDA officials said.

“The SalivaDirect test for rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2 is yet another testing innovation game changer that will reduce the demand for scarce testing resources,” said Assistant Secretary for Health and COVID-19 Testing Coordinator Admiral Brett P. Giroir, M.D. 

The new test was developed by the Yale University School of Public Health.

Basically, all patients have to do is spit into any sterile container. If you’ve done genetic testing by mail with a company like 23 And Me, you pretty much know what’s required.

 The test is does not require a separate nucleic acid extraction step. That’s significant because the extraction kits used for this step in other tests have been prone to shortages in the past.

The FDA says that because the test requires no nasal swab, health care workers are much less likely to be exposed to the coronavirus from contact with patients who go on to test positive.

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