The McDonnell Genome Institute, researchers at WashUMed, and Fluidigm have developed an extraction-free saliva-based test to detect the SARS‑CoV‑2 virus. It has an easy-to-administer protocol that does not require collection via a nasopharyngeal swab.

“Rapid, reliable testing that is widely available to the public is essential in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Jeffrey Milbrandt, MD, PhD, Executive Director of the McDonnell Genome Institute and head of the Department of Genetics at Washington University School of Medicine. “The close collaboration between teams at Washington University and Fluidigm aided our efforts to quickly develop this high-throughput assay for SARS-CoV-2 that relies on a saliva sample. Such a test could help overcome supply chain bottlenecks that have limited testing for COVID-19 and help identify infections.”

“There’s an urgent need to simplify testing for COVID-19 so that people who are infected can be easily and quickly identified,” said Richard Head, Director of the Genome Technology Access Center at the McDonnell Genome Institute. “The test we developed in collaboration with Fluidigm doesn’t require RNA extraction, a time-consuming and expensive step necessary to other tests for SARS-CoV-2. Our test could be easily scaled up and made widely available.”

Read more about the test in this press release.