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Yale Partners With NBA to Study Saliva-Based COVID-19 Test

steph curry stands with his hands on hips while he chews on his mouthpiece during a break in an en bee ay game
(Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

By    |   Monday, 22 June 2020 05:50 PM

Yale School of Public Health researchers have developed a COVID-19 testing method called SalivaDirect and will be using the volunteers from the National Basketball Association (NBA) players, coaches, and staff to test the product. The saliva-based test has already been shown to be effective and is a much more appealing procedure than inserting nasopharyngeal swabs to collect test samples.

According to USA Today, Yale, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) have partnered "to study the efficacy of a saliva-based method that quickly determines if someone is infected with the novel coronavirus." The NBPA has a buy-in, according to USA Today.

"Our players are excited to be a part of this study," said NBPA chief medical officer Joe Rogowski. "Not only does it offer the potential for players to have an alternative method of testing within the NBA campus in Orlando, but more importantly it allows them to leverage their regular testing to make a larger contribution to public health in the fight against this virus."

The non-invasive saliva test was developed as an alternative to the uncomfortable nasopharyngeal swabbing currently used for COVID-19 testing, according to USA Today. It only requires a small sample of saliva and, according to researchers at Yale, is less expensive, and less risky for healthcare workers to collect samples. It is also faster, reducing testing results by over an hour.

According to Yale News, a research team led by Yale's Nathan Grubaugh and Anne Wyllie will begin testing players and the results of the study are expected by the end of July. Preliminary studies have shown SalivaDirect is highly sensitive and the researcher's goal is to achieve an 90% accuracy rate.

An earlier study conducted at Yale New Haven Hospital found saliva samples from just inside the mouth "provided greater detection sensitivity and consistency throughout the course of an infection than the broadly recommended nasopharyngeal approach."

In fact, saliva testing identified the virus in two asymptomatic healthcare workers who had previously test negative in a nasal swab test.

Wyllie said saliva samples would allow for broader and more accurate at-home testing that would improve overall testing for SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, according to Yale News.

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Yale School of Public Health researchers have developed a COVID-19 testing method called SalivaDirect and will be using the volunteers from the National Basketball Association (NBA) players, coaches, and staff to test the product.
yale, nba, testing, contact tracing, covid-19, pandemic, orlando
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2020-50-22
Monday, 22 June 2020 05:50 PM
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