NJ gets 30K COVID-19 spit tests, results in 2 days: How to get it
More than three months after the first green light from federal regulators, thousands of a saliva-based COVID-19 test developed by a Rutgers University research team now are being used at sites across New Jersey.
Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday that RUCDR Infinite Biologics is providing 30,000 of its rapid response, saliva-based, coronavirus tests to facilities throughout the state per day.
RUCDR Infinite Biologics is part of Rutgers’ Human Genetics Institute of New Jersey.
In April, the Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization to the saliva collection testing, according to RUCDR Infinite Biologics Chief Operating Officer Andrew Brooks.
"Having these tests means we now have 30,000 tests a day, and they come with a 48-hour turnaround," Murphy said, calling it "welcome news" amid test result delays stemming from COVID-19 hotspots around the country.
The governor said the state's secured saliva test kits would be given to "priority populations which we serve including our frontline responders and most vulnerable residents."
Monday's announcement came five days after being asked by New Jersey 101.5 at a state briefing about the tests. At the July 22 state briefing, Murphy said "I don't have an update for you on Rutgers spit. I know the arrangement took longer than any of us wanted to, but it's still a big piece of our aspiration going forward."
"The Rutgers saliva test is being deployed. It's a methodology that is used pretty frequently. We do have an agreement with them that the first 30,000 tests go to us," Commissioner of Health Judith Persichilli said at the same briefing.
Middlesex County has been offering the saliva-based COVID-19 testing to residents, in an agreement with Rutgers University and South Plainfield-based Accurate Diagnostic Labs. Testing is restricted to Middlesex County adult residents, 18 and older, with a scheduled appointment.
Essex County has been offering free saliva testing to county residents, 13 and older, who make an appointment at one of their satellite COVID-19 test sites, according to Montclair's website.
In May, the FDA approved at home saliva test kits for COVID-19 testing, as well.
Passaic County has been offering at-home saliva testing to residents, free of charge, in a partnership with Vault Health.
At-home tests remained available even as Paterson closed three COVID-19 testing sites due to the Extreme Heat Advisory both Monday and Tuesday, at Eastside High School, John F. Kennedy High School and Broadway Barnert Urgent Care.
The same saliva tests are available for $150 via the Vault Health website, which said charges "cover the costs involved in testing," with roughly half the cost going to the lab kit and processing, and $29 for expedited shipping.
In order for any "spit" test to be accurate, patients are told not to eat, drink, smoke, or chew gum for 30 minutes prior to giving a saliva sample.
More from WPG Talk Radio: