NBC News
On Saturday, the Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization, or EUA, to SalivaDirect, which can detect whether a person is infected with the coronavirus using saliva, rather than a sample taken from deep in the nasal cavity. The test was developed by researchers at Yale University in partnership with the NBA, which had a need for frequent testing to restart their season safely and worked with the researchers to help them validate their test. SalivaDirect uses the same method to run the samples as many other COVID-19 tests — called polymerase chain reaction, or PCR — but notably, the test eliminates one of the steps from that procedure, and can therefore be run in about half the time as traditional PCR, Wyllie said. Skipping one of the steps sets the SalivaDirect test apart from the five other saliva tests that have been granted EUAs. And bypassing the step, which entails extracting the virus’s genetic material from the sample, means the test isn’t vulnerable to shortages required for that step, Chiu said.