Light & Verity

Yale teams up with NBA for COVID test

FDA approves saliva testing method.

Hal Mayforth

Hal Mayforth

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This spring, a research team at the School of Public Health developed a method of testing saliva for COVID-19 that they say works as well as the more expensive and invasive nasal swabs for detecting the virus in people suspected of having it. But in order for it to become an affordable standard for routine testing in college, schools, and other populations, it was going to need testing in asymptomatic groups. Enter the National Basketball Association.

“The NBA had heard about our research, and they reached out to us,” says Anne Wyllie, an associate research scientist who worked on the testing method—known as SalivaDirect—with assistant professor of epidemiology Nathan Grubaugh and postdoctoral fellow Chantal Vogels. “They could have just gone with any rapid test or industry partner, but they really wanted to support research that could potentially reach the wider community.”

The league is using saliva tests alongside nasal and throat swabs, and the Yale researchers are comparing the results. They were hoping to have the SalivaDirect method approved by the middle of August. [Editor's note: after our print publication date, the test was approved by the FDA on August 15 for use in symptomatic patients.]

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