Following on the heels of my last post regarding coronavirus testing, I wanted to follow up with more positive news.
We have been following several promising new COVID-19 testing platforms in an effort to continue to provide the most cost-effective, sensitive, and safest coronavirus testing for our community here at Highland Urgent Care and Family Medicine. Announced last week, Yale University has gained FDA Emergency Use Authorization for a new kind of COVID-19 testing known as Saliva Direct.
Yale is not seeking to commercialize this technology. The goal is to introduce the concept and make the technology available for mass production and utilization. The platform is designed to use inexpensive reagents which can be easily substituted to address current and future supply chain interruptions. Additionally, multiple vendors using different instruments can utilize the technology to ensure flexibility and consistent testing capacity. Saliva Direct developers hope to double the current number of tests being performed.
The technology behind the Saliva Direct test detects COVID-19 RNA using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques similar to existing molecular tests. The difference lies in the adoption of Loop Mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) technology. This inexpensive technology was used in both the ZIKA and Ebola outbreaks in resource-poor countries. Recent advances in LAMP technology have made it as sensitive as traditional PCR tests at a fraction of the cost.
The ease of sample collection – obtained by licking a piece of paper or spitting into a tube – makes sample acquisition less difficult and safer than a swab inserted into your nose by medical personnel. Though not currently available, we hope to have the reagents and equipment available to do this testing by mid-September. So, stay tuned!
In the meantime, if you want to be tested, we have rapid testing for COVID-19 available at the clinic. Click the link to set up your appointment.