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

Apr 28, 2020

Credit https://www.flickr.com/photos/pellesten/5640783746

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.