The Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency approval for an at-home test developed by Rutgers University, the first in the country to allow people test themselves for COVID-19 without leaving their house.
Developed by RUCDR Infinite Biologics, the at-home test allows a person to collect and then mail a sample of their saliva to be tested at a lab, all without stepping outside of their home. Its the second emergency authorization Rutgers has received from the FDA - the first was a collection test that similarly used saliva as a means to test for the novel coronavirus.
The researchers behind the test say its a big step forward in testing technology and further prevents possible infection to patients or health care workers completing in-person tests.
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"The impact of this approval means that not only do we no longer have to put healthcare professionals at risk for infection by performing nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal collections, we can now preserve precious PPE for use in patient care instead of testing," said Andrew Brooks, chief operating officer and director of technology development at RUCDR Infinite Biologics, the team behind development of the test in coordination with Spectrum Solution and Accurate Diagnostic Labs.
Access to new testing technology like the one developed to collect saliva can increase the number of people tested daily by tens of thousands, the team at Rutgers says.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy praised the progress Saturday, calling the test "a big step forward."
"We all know that testing is a critical part of our getting on the road back and the easier and more accessible testing is, the more secure we will be on that road," Murphy added.
The following day, Saturday, the FDA also fast-tracked approval of an antigen COVID-19 test that is said to return results within 15 minutes.