ASU Biodesign Creates Saliva Test For COVID-19

By Scott Bourque
Published: Monday, June 1, 2020 - 9:38am

Coronavirus electron microscope image
Cynthia S. Goldsmith and A. Tamin/CDC
Electron microscopic image of a negatively stained particle of SARS-CoV-2, causative agent of COVID-19.

Researchers at ASU’s Biodesign Institute say they’ve developed a cheaper, faster and less uncomfortable way to test for the coronavirus.

If the saliva test is able to be mass produced, it could help test large groups of people quickly, cheaply, and without the unpleasant nasal swab.

In this test, users spit into a tube — so there’s no need for a nurse to collect the sample, which saves time, money and protective equipment.

Josh LaBaer told Arizona Horizon this would be useful for testing large groups — like everyone in a workplace. All it would require is refrigeration.

"You could almost imagine passing out these tubes to people at their desks, they can collect it in their own offices, then just bring it to a collection site where they’re kept," LaBaer said. "We want to keep it cold."

Results typically take about 24 hours to process, but LaBaer says the tests are 100% accurate if there are any viral particles found in the saliva sample.

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