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Spit Like the NBA

The US Food and Drug Administration has issued an Emergency Use Authorization for a saliva-based test for COVID-19 that the National Basketball Association helped study, the Wall Street Journal reports

The test, called SalivaDirect and developed by Yale School of Public Health, is cheap and easy to run, the Verge adds. As 360Dx reports, the test uses a new method to process saliva samples and notes the test was funded in part by the NBA and basketball players provided samples to evaluate the test. The NBA is playing its season in a "bubble" at Walt Disney World and players undergo frequent COVID-19 testing. According to the Verge, players could opt to give a saliva sample alongside their nasopharyngeal swabs. The Journal notes that the Yale researchers were then able to compare the swab-based results of 44 players who tested positive and their saliva-based results. 

According to a Yale press release, SalivaDirect is highly sensitive and gives similar results as nasopharyngeal swabbing. Nathan Grubaugh, one of the test developers, notes that the reagents needed for the test only cost a few dollars and says he expects labs would charge about $10 per sample.

The Verges notes this is the fifth saliva-based test authorized by FDA.