The U.S. FDA has expanded the emergency use authorization (EUA) for Rutgers University’s saliva-based COVID-19 test to include at-home use of Spectrum Solutions LLC’s SDNA-1000 whole saliva collection device, a development that underscores the need for wider testing as localities across the country emerge from lockdown and restart their economies. This is the first at-home option for saliva collection; the action comes just two weeks after the FDA authorized Laboratory Corp. of America’s polymerase chain reaction test for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, to include the company’s Pixel self-collection kit for nasal samples.
The collection of nasal and throat swab samples to detect the presence or absence of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has proven problematic on a few fronts, particularly in the U.S. The swabs themselves often have become scarce and difficult to obtain, while health care workers are routinely risking their own health commonly in the absence of proper protective equipment. In addition, sampling difficulties have largely been blamed for a very high false negative rate that could be as much as 25%.