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Oklahoma Trying to be Among First States to Roll out Saliva Testing for COVID-19

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OSU has asked the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization to roll out a saliva-based COVID-19 test in Oklahoma.

Collecting a patient’s saliva puts health care workers at lower risk of infection than using nose and throat swabs to get a specimen does, and those swabs are in short supply.

"This is a huge benefit, especially for those long-term care facility residents where getting a nasal swab can be challenging and uncomfortable," said Oklahoma Deputy Secretary of Science and Innovation Elizabeth Pollard.

If the test is approved, the plan is to use it to get a handle on the spread of the virus in nursing homes.

"Our goal is to test all 42,000 residents and staff in long-term care facilities in our state over the next 30 days using this saliva test," said Oklahoma Deputy Secretary of Health and Mental Health Carter Kimble.

OSU replicated a test developed at Rutgers. Researchers there say saliva testing can test three times as many people a day.

OSU and OU have been 3D printing swabs typically used for COVID-19 testing to help with supply shortages.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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