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Sacred Heart University Adopts Yale COVID-19 Saliva Testing Protocol

Two Connecticut universities are working together to run a saliva-based COVID-19 testing program. Sacred Heart University has adopted SalivaDirect, a testing method developed by researchers at the Yale School of Public Health that produces quicker results with a less invasive procedure and no need for specialized equipment. The previous testing process, run by Quest Diagnostics, used the nasal swab. The Yale test requires only that a saliva sample be collected in any sterile container and doesn't require any kind of proprietary containers.

The new protocol was given emergency use authorization in August by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration after clinical testing was done by the Yale School of Public Health, the Yale-New Haven Hospital and Yale Pathology Labs (YPL). The method was "further validated" when the institution collected almost 4,000 samples from National Basketball Association players, staff and contractors. Now, the university is working with health providers in Florida, Minnesota and New York to use the new testing method.

"As we ramp up our testing program, SalivaDirect offers a great solution to allow us to dramatically increase the number of tests we do weekly on students, faculty and staff," said Gary MacNamara, executive director of public safety and governmental affairs and cochair of the coronavirus planning team at Sacred Heart, in a statement. "We are excited to offer a less invasive test and, at the same time, have results more quickly. That is a critical component to containing any spread of the virus."

Calling the partnership a "natural fit," YPL Outreach Director and Professor of pathology, Angelique Levi added that the program "strengthens ties to our local communities, engages with educational institutions, promotes health and wellness through innovative diagnostics and increases testing capacity and access to the public."

Yale is making the SalivaDirect test available for other certified labs in the United States through an open source protocol. For more information, contact the university through a Google Doc form.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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