Rutgers Develops New Test for COVID-19


photo via Wikimedia Commons under creative commons license

An urgent care in Englewood, NJ offering COVID-19 tests.

Jardin Jacoby, News Editor

An antigen test, also known as a nucleic acid test, is where a tissue sample can be checked to see if a person is carrying genetic signatures of SARS-CoV-2 or a specific ribonucleic acid. Currently, testing for the Coronavirus consists of swabbing the back nasal passage of a patient. The uncomfortable process still allows patients to breathe and talk, but the swabs needed to absorb secretion are in limited supply. Right now results can take anywhere from two to fourteen days to come back, which allows excess time for the possibly infected patient to unintentionally infect others. 

Rutgers University Cell and DNA Respiratory (RUCDR) has developed a test that will identify COVID-19 through saliva samples. This new test will be given at the Kilmer Vehicle Inspection Center in Edison, NJ. This location is going to be used to test the effectiveness of a mouth swab drive through. Middlesex County has over 9,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, but patients getting the new test can expect to have their results back in a day or two. The saliva-based test does not need to be administered by medical personnel, which allows doctors and nurses to spend more time with people in critical care and limits their exposure to the disease. 

On April 1, the RUCDR submitted an emergency use authorization request to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which was approved on April 11. The FDA approval will allow the test to be used on a national scale. The White House’s COVID-19 testing task force showed their gratitude towards the Rutgers-ADL team by calling them to offer their support and to thank them for their service. This new test will not only improve testing efficiency but will hopefully help healthcare workers stay safe.